Souls to the polls. Chatbots connect voters with volunteer drivers by SMS and voice calls.

3 mins read

RIDE TO VOTE : a chatbot powered service for organizer to match voters who need a ride to the polls with volunteer drivers.

Voters are suppressed by making it harder for them to get to the polls. This is especially acute for the elderly, disabled and others with no car and limited funds. Volunteer drivers are available but it’s hard for organizers to match voters who need rides with volunteer drivers.

Voters in rural communities without internet access nor cell phone coverage are especially hurt by having polling locations in distant places as their only form of communication is a landline phone. This makes it harder for organizers to help them field requests as they have limited staff and funding to field phone calls. A way to easily and affordably accept requests for rides and match them with volunteers.

Reclaim Our Vote, a non-profit group is innovating with chatbots that let voters who need a ride and volunteers in selected states (including South Carolina) to call or text RIDE to (843) 890 2992.

Rides to the Polls chatbot matches voters with volunteer drivers.

Chatbots

Chatbots are small automated programs that engage with people in a conversational manner. Chatbots work around the clock and are more efficient than having a person answer calls individually or transcribe messages from an answering machine. The RIDE TO VOTE chatbot was designed with Twilio. It first asks the caller whether they need a ride or would like to volunteer. Their answers are automatically transcribed and saved to a database from which volunteers match drivers with volunteers.

Chatbot benefits

Scalable: Handle hundreds of calls at the same time, so there’s never a ‘busy’ signal.
Flexible: Set up with different scripts that define how to interact with callers by voice or SMS.
Smart: Can understand different voices and accents.
Resourceful: Can find answers from a database that’s easily updated.
Affordable: New platforms allow simple chatbots to be created within a day for under $300.

Takeaway: Use chatbots to get souls to the polls and connect voters who need a ride to the polls with volunteer drivers. Chatbots are fast, simple and affordable. Call or text RIDE to (843) 890 2992 to see how easy it is – but please remember to indicate that you are only testing the service and do not need a ride. Thanks.

Deepak
DemLabs

Image Credit: League of Women’s Voters of Johnson County
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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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