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California leads the way in online voting apps

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August 8, 2013

By Kristen Mathews


Debra Bowen, California's Secretary of State, lead the charge last year to create new technology to make registering easy for California's voters. Her tech team created an online app, "RegisterToVote" which has been selected by the Center for Digital Government as the "Best Application Serving the Public." This title comes with an award, along with 16 other awards in different areas of recognition, this will be presented on August 21st at the GTC West Best of California ceremony in Sacramento. 883,600 California voters used the app launched on September 19, 2013 to register or update their personal voting information.

“My team worked at breakneck speed last year to build the California online voter registration system that made it as easy as possible for any eligible Californian to register any time from anywhere,” Bowen said. “The award is a wonderful recognition of that monumental accomplishment in service to the people of California.”[1]

Following California's lead, New York City released its mobile voter app, "NYCVotes" on August 7, 2013. Unlike California, NYC's process will still require voters to print out the required documents to personally sign and mail them, but it does make the forms easier to access and some of the information fields can still be filled out through the online system. This app however, includes the ability to let voters make campaign contributions instantly. This helps ease the complications of the intimidating donation process while still complying with the strict regulations for NYC contributions.[2]

Many other states have embraced, or are in the process of creating, online voter registration procedures. Louisiana's mobile app "GeauxVote" does not let new voters register, but it does include the ability to check polling place information, confirm already registered voters, and provide results of the elections. Louisiana's voter turnout improved after the creation of the app with 67.9 percent of registered voters heading to their polling place. Louisiana also won an award for it's new technology. The National Association of Secretaries of State presented Tom Schedler, Louisiana's Secretary of State with the IDEAS award which recognizes innovation and achievement.[3]

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