How Tech Companies May Influence Voter Turnout

Tech companies like Facebook, Twitter and Uber are doing their part to incite voter participation this year.

Tomorrow is Election Day, and chances are you’ve been encouraged to vote by a number of tech companies. Since young voters historically haven’t participated in elections in large numbers, several tech giants are pushing their younger audiences to get involved in the 2016 election. While targeting young voters is nothing new, according to BIGfish president David Gerzof Richard (read more in The Boston Herald), technology makes it easier than ever to reach those Millennial eyes. Have you spotted these election-related promotions?

Ride-share giant Uber is partnering with Google on Election Day to bring an in-app feature designed to help you find the closest polling location. Users can then request a ride to that location with the simple push of a button. This ‘Polling Place’ finder is powered by Google and uses data such as early voting and polling locations, hours of operation and even ballot information. New Uber users (if there are any left) can use the code “VOTETODAY” to get $20 off their first ride – ideally to their designated polling location!
Lyft is offering 45% off rides to polling locations in 20 markets across the US – including Boston! Full disclosure: the ride back from the polls will be full price. New users can also use the code “NOVEMBER8TH” for $5 off their first 10 rides.
Aside from helping debate moderators shape their questions, Facebook also installed new features to give voters more information on the candidates and issues. The vote planner, unique to each user, shows what will appear on the user’s local ballot. Users can also endorse candidates on their profile.
Twitter made it easier for voters to get registered this year. Users could send a direct message to Twitter’s @Gov account with their zip code to receive their state’s voter registration deadline and a personalized link to register. Twitter also teamed up with Square to allow users to donate to a candidate simply by tweeting.
YouTube unveiled its #voteIRL campaign in September, featuring popular YouTubers like Hank Green, Kingsley and Hannah Hart who encouraged their viewers to register and vote. YouTube also had registration reminders on various webpages throughout the year.
Tinder partnered with Rock the Vote to create “Swipe the Vote,” an easy way for users to figure out who to vote for in the primaries by swiping left or right on different policy details. They recently brought back this feature, this time for the general election (and extended it to 15 other countries around the world). Once users find the candidate they align with policy-wise, they’re sent to a page to find their closest polling location.
If you’re still not sure about where your polling location is, click here to find out. We’ll see you at the polls!

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