Leave no voter behind

4 mins read

People in remote areas are often overlooked by the census and find it hard to vote.

Many Americans in remote areas suffer because poor roads and a lack of internet access deny them their political voice. Technology is helping overcome this barrier. Organizers can now collect information in remote areas with KoBoToolbox, a free app that runs on most phones even without connectivity.


Four Directions is a non-profit group that advances equality at the ballot box across Indian Country. They needed a solution to collect census-related information in remote tribal areas that lacked internet access. They had little money and their novice team of canvassers had to use their own phones to collect information. This bulletin explains how Four Directions met the challenge with KoBoToolbox and a little help from DemLabs.


OJ Semans is the co-founder of Four Directions and designed a survey form with the information to be collected. This form was distributed to volunteers as a link which they could immediately use on their phones without having to install an app. The information they collected was saved to an online database and automatically mapped. 

It’s easy

See how easy it is to collect data by completing a form from your phone or laptop with this URL tinyurl.com/kobosurvey

  • You can simulate making an entry even without internet access by switching your phone to ‘Flight Mode’. The data you enter is stored on your phone and automatically uploaded when you regain connectivity.
  • The location where the data was collected can be filled in manually by typing in the nearest town and then placing a pin on the exact spot as shown in the demo above. Or the coordinates (latitude & longitude) can be captured automatically by clicking on the compass icon above the map. The app finds coordinates even without internet access!
  • The time, location and device ID of the canvasser is saved along with the information they collected for auditing purposes. 

Learn more about the Four Directions project implementation here.

Nine reasons to love KoBoToolbox

  1. KoBoToolbox is proven and has thousands of users worldwide.
  2. The app is free and can be deployed in the cloud or on your own server.
  3. It’s easy to design data collection forms that can even include images.
  4. The app works without internet access.
  5. It captures a location’s coordinates (latitude & longitude) automatically.
  6. The app  can be used on phones, tablets, laptops.
  7. It’s easy to learn and includes security provisions.
  8. The information collected can be exported for use in other programs.
  9. An audit trail is kept to ensure that canvassers are properly collecting information.


Organizing starts with knowing where people live and collecting details on them and their concerns. Even small grassroots groups can now collect information with KoBoToolbox. Learn more here.

Leave no voter behind!

Co-Founder, DemLabs

Please share this bulletin. DemLabs is a SF-based, progressive hub for ongoing technology and creative innovation with free and affordable apps. Donate here to support our work.

DemCast is an advocacy-based 501(c)4 nonprofit. We have made the decision to build a media site free of outside influence. There are no ads. We do not get paid for clicks. If you appreciate our content, please consider a small monthly donation.

Democracy Labs is a hub for ongoing technology and creative innovation that serves progressive campaigns and organizations at the national, state, and local levels.

Our focus is on long term, sustainable and affordable solutions. An approach that is longer than an election cycle, and isn’t purely dependant on volunteers, can enable more qualified candidates to run for office and for more issue groups to bring about positive social change.

Democracy Labs is a project of the Tides Advocacy Fund.

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