Looking For The Closest Voting Center in Texas?

5 mins read
Vote Your Power

Text “VOTE” to (512) 359-9626 to find your closest Texas vote center by providing your county and zip code.

Reclaim Your Vote
Vote centers are an alternative to traditional, neighborhood-based precincts. Voters can cast their ballots at any vote center in the jurisdiction, regardless of their address. – NCSL

Many voters don’t know how Vote Centers work and have difficulty finding the closest one which creates long lines. Reclaim Our Vote’s new chatbot let’s voters call or text “VOTE” to (512) 359-9626 to find their closest vote center by providing their county and zip code.

Vote Centers

Voting Centers let citizens vote near their home, near work or school, or anywhere that is convenient. But often long lines result because people are not aware of the different centers in their vicinity and for several other reasons per the NCSL.
Voter education — Vote centers can cause confusion if the switch isn’t well publicized and explained to the public.
Tradition — The civic experience of voting with neighbors at a local school, church, or other polling place is changed.
Equipment — Vote centers must be able to produce the appropriate ballot for each voter; this requires either touchscreen machines that can be reset for each voter or “print-on-demand” equipment.
Technology — Many jurisdictions first convert to the use of “electronic poll books;” when a voter casts a ballot in one location, it is recorded at all locations via networked computers.”

Audio chatbot responds verbally

Chatbots interface with people by both text messages and voice. Voters can choose whether to call or text the chatbot at (512) 359-9626 and the chatbot responds accordingly. This is how the chatbot deals with an audio call. Here is the voice recording and the transcript.

TRANSCRIPT
BOT: I can help find your closest voting location. What is your County.
VOTER: Brazoria.
BOT: Okay, what is your 5-digit zip code?
VOTER: 77541.
BOT: Okay. You said your County is Brazoria and your zip code is 77541. Is that correct? Please say yes or no.
VOTER: Yes.
BOT: Okay. You said your County is Brazoria and your zip code is 77541. Is that correct? Please say yes or no.
VOTER: Yes.
BOT: Please. Wait. I’m looking up. The information dot the first location is Freeport library and County Brazoria. The address is 4/10 Brazos sport Boulevard in city, Freeport, and zip code is 77541. It is open Monday through Friday from October 13th to October 30 at the end. Thank you for voting. Would you like me to repeat that, please say yes or no?
VOTER: No.
BOT: Okay. Thanks for calling goodbye.

RECLAIM OUR VOTE (ROV) is a project of the Center for Common Ground of Virginia, a 501(c)3 organization. It helps under-served communities get a fair chance to vote as “eligible voters of color are being purged from voter rolls at a much higher rate than white voters.  People in minority communities were already struggling to reach the voting booth in voter-suppression states, due to the implementation of strict new voter ID laws, a reduction in polling places and/or early voting days, and many other tactics.”  

ROV created this Texas Voting Center chatbot with help from DemLabs using Twilio software. The chatbot handles both text and voice calls. This helps rural voters without cellular coverage, the elderly who prefer to call rather than text, those with disabilities, poor eyesight to verbally get information on their closest voting center. The chatbot also saves details on callers so that Reclaim Our Vote can follow-up with them for additional voting related help if needed. ROV has sent over a million postcards to Texas encouraging the recipient to call the bot.

Takeaway: Use chatbot technology to provide voters the information they need – text or voice. Make sure your voter information systems are designed to cope with sudden, last minute changes to polling locations that can disenfranchise voters.

Deepak
DemLabs


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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