Elections and Voting

COVID-19 is forcing rapid change in elections operations this year. We're partnering with NGOs and elections offices to provide new tools and adapt existing ones, streamline operations, and navigate these changes. Knowing that time is of the essence, we can work with you to setup simple tools in a matter of days, using familiar, off-the-shelf software whenever we can, with whatever training or support you need.

Our experienced, pro-bono volunteers can help rapidly:

Inform the Public

  • Build new local elections office websites. USDR has partnered with the Center for Tech and Civic Life to provide counties and local elections offices with an easy, modern, elections website template that reduces maintenance overhead and enables local elections offices to easily keep online information up-to-date. This new template is available today, and can be set up in just hours.
  • Update elections office websites. We’re happy to work with any state or county on improving their elections office website to provide clear and up-to-date information to the public — this can include directly working on your website, or having a designer and/or content strategist provide mockups and content suggestions to your existing IT or vendor team.
  • Support voter outreach and communications. Fully leverage all digital communication channels (social, email, text, web) so that voters are aware of changes to polling centers and vote-by-mail, and generally know what to expect during this unusual voting cycle.
  • Prepare for unprecedented scale. Election offices’ websites–their front door to the public–need to be rock solid for the entire election season. To build confidence in the robustness of their websites, and identify any potential challenges early in order to address them proactively, U.S. Digital Response volunteers are offering a pro bono Website Health Check to give election officials confidence that their website is up to the task.

Optimize Internal Operations

  • Enable online poll-worker applications, and streamline internal operations. Managing the large influx of poll workers necessary to effectively run elections can be manually-time-intensive and tedious. We’re actively working with counties to bring new, easy-to-use, lightweight tools to poll worker application and matching processes to ease this operational burden, and also make it easier for poll workers to apply. 
  • Track and respond to polling location wait times. Adding internal visibility around polling place wait times and throughput helps election offices respond quickly to potential problems during early voting and Election Day. In addition, for counties that offer vote centers, sharing this information with the public can help voters select vote centers with shorter lines. 
  • Tools to mitigate call center and support times. Many counties and states suffer from long call-center wait times during elections, and challenging internal support operations. We’re working with multiple counties to implement support tools that help poll workers and voters find answers to more of their own questions in order to minimize incoming support load, and then deploy internal tools to accelerate the resolution and escalation of issues that do come in. 

Scale and Optimize Vote by Mail

  • Bring vote-by-mail applications online. USDR is working with multiple counties in states that don’t have online VBM applications through their state voter registration system to help them digitize their VBM application process, and streamline internal application processing. 
  • Streamline manual processes for VBM application processing. The steps for processing VBM applications in each local election office are often highly-manual and laborious. We’re deploying internal tools that integrate with existing email or paper systems where these applications are received to automate as much of the process as possible, and reduce the time each local election office has to spend per received application.
  • Ballot curing process tooling and voter notification. We can work with counties to build email and text notifications to voters with rejected ballots, web tools to guide voters through the ballot cure process, including signing the forms themselves as relevant per-jurisdiction, and help streamline any other internal processes used for tracking or coordination.

Partners

View the free elections website template:

Key features

  • WordPress site with pre-installed content including a homepage, voting resources, vote-by-mail guidelines, contact forms, and more
  • Election icon library (~24 icons) and two standard banner illustration assets
  • Full set of pre-written, recommended FAQs (research-backed, including very timely COVID-19 information)
  • Website implementation guide to support installation and maintenance

Our Team

The USDR Voting team is led by a former Secretary of State and former Co-chair of both the Elections and Securities Committees of the National Association of Secretaries of State.

Read our latest blogpost: 4 ways U.S. Digital Response is helping election offices save precious time.

If you need a customized solution, please reach out to us.

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