VIP: Delivering Non-Partisan Voting Information in 2016
What’s the first thing you do when you realize there’s an election coming? If you’re like most people, you probably open a search engine and search “where’s my polling place?” or “what’s on my ballot?” To make sure you can find this information and trust what you find, The Pew Charitable Trusts partnered with election officials and Google in 2008 to create the Voting Information Project (VIP) to give voters access to the information they need to cast a ballot on or before Election Day.
VIP has already provided election information for 44 elections, including 29 presidential preference primaries, and helped more than 3.4 million people find their polling place and ballot information via Facebook, presidential campaigns on both sides of the aisle, media websites, third party groups, and more, including our own website! VIP provides free tools that anyone can use or promote to help their constituents find accurate, official voting information without requiring any personally identifiable information. In addition, all of VIP’s information is published via the Google Civic Information API, which is open source and free for anyone to use
- The Voting Information Tool is mobile-friendly, customizable tool that can be placed on your website. It provides official voting information, including polling locations, to anyone using just a residential address and is available in 16 languages. You can try the customizer to see how easy it is to use and to design the tool exactly how you want it to look, or the tool itself is open source and can be customized even further.
- White-label iOS and Android mobile apps that can be customized, branded, and released by state and local governments. The apps are available in Spanish and English, and are both open source (iOS and Android).
- A short messaging service (SMS) tool provides voters with election information via text message in 10 languages. By texting “VOTE” or “VOTO” to GOVOTE (468-683), voters can find their polling place or dropbox location, contact information for a local election official, and a link to check voter registration status. Although it isn’t customizable, anyone is welcome to promote it.
- GettothePolls.com is a joint effort of Pew and the Internet Association. The site allows voters to enter their addresses and find the location and hours of their polling place and ballot and candidate information. Anyone can promote or link to this website.