A new app will help you get out the vote in the midterms, if your friends don’t block you first.
Created by two Boston engineers to end what they call “slacktivism,” Outvote is friend-to-friend: You’ll only get reminders from people you know. The guiding principle is that people are more likely to act if they’re poked by a familiar elbow instead of an anonymous campaign staffer.
“Peer pressure everyone into voting!” Outvote’s demo video says.
That’s basically how it works. Outvote cross-checks your contacts list against publicly available voter information; it lets you know what friends are eligible to vote in upcoming races across the country, and you can send a standard or customized reminder message. Friends who are registered as Democrats are marked with a “D,” those who live in swing districts are noted, and friends who rarely vote are marked with a snooze icon, so you can offer them some extra haranguing.
Oh, and it’s just for Democratic candidates. “We want to create a brand that people are excited about and a community that wants do make a difference this September,” Outvote co-creator Naseem Makiya told WNYC. “It would be hard to build that serving both sides.”
Just six years ago, President Obama’s get-out-the-vote data operation was hailed as revolutionary while the GOP’s expensive technology crashed ignominiously on Election Day, along with Mitt Romney’s presidential hopes. Now, says Mazen, the advantage has flipped. “We think it’s really critical that Democrats begin to invest in and promote technology. The right is doing a much better job of investing in some of the niche technology,” he said in a Techcrunch interview. “And, obviously, groups like Cambridge Analytica and folks have been, I would say, underhanded, in their use of technology. We have to work twice as hard to be twice as resolute, as a result.”