A new app wants to help get the word out to vote in the upcoming midterm elections – but there’s one feature that could feel a little invasive.
The app, called Vote With Me, provides helpful information about the elections taking place in your district, lets you know whether a race is tight, and shows you how to prepare for Election Day.
But the app also pulls your voter registration and voting record, and that same information from anyone in your phone’s contacts, allowing you to see which political party your friends are registered with.
The point of this, Vote With Me says, is so that you can reach out to friends who are registered in states and districts with important races and encourage them to vote.
The app isn’t doing anything nefarious – all that information is public record, and all Vote With Me is doing is linking that information to the names you gave it access to. According to the app’s website, it doesn’t sell any of the information that you give it or reach out to those contacts. After the election is over, the app says, it will permanently delete all of the information.
Still, Vote With Me is providing a window into your friends’, family’s, and coworkers’ voting habits, and reveals information you probably wouldn’t have found out otherwise.
So if you’re feeling nosy – or just nobly want to get out the word about voting – here’s how to use Vote With Me:
When you download Vote With Me — which is available for both Android and iOS devices — you’ll be asked for some basic information about yourself. This allows the app to pull your voting information.
Vote With Me will provide all the pertinent information about the House, Senate, and governor’s races in your state and district, including who’s running and whether the race is expected to be close.
The app will help you get ready for Election Day. It lets you know the last day you can mail your absentee ballot, when the polls open, and even provides a link to find your polling place.
Because the app has your info, it can tell you your voting record, in case you’ve forgotten.
Not to brag, but the best part of using this app was finding out that I have a pristine voting record. It was reassuring, since I’ve voted absentee for the last several elections – it’s good to know my votes were received and counted.
Vote With Me has found a way to gamify voting: When you vote in specific elections or remind friends to vote, you get a badge. It’s not clear yet what happens when you collect all the badges.
Vote With Me provides a bit of background about why voting in the upcoming election is important. The company says it isn’t partisan, but does believe in “progressive ideals and equal rights and liberty for all,” as well as “increasing citizens’ access to democracy.”
Here’s where Vote With Me gets interesting. When you toggle over to the “My Contacts” tab, the app will ask for permission to access your contacts. Once you hit “Allow,” you’ll start seeing the icons above populate.
- The circles denote political party – blue circles for Democratic, red circles for Republican, yellow circles for Libertarian, and so on.
- The flame emoji denotes whether that person is registered in a state or district with a close race.
- The years with the slashes through them mean that person did not vote in the presidential or midterm election of that year.
You can filter out the results by hitting the “Filters” button at the top. If you want to see friends who are registered for a third party or haven’t voted recently, you can easily check that.
When you click on an individual contact’s name, you’ll see a whole lot of information, including what state and district they’re registered in, their party affiliation (if any), and their voting history.
Vote With Me will also show you that friend’s voting deadlines, so you can send them a timely reminder if you so choose.
You can also view your friend’s entire voting history, including municipal elections. It’s important to note that you can’t see who someone voted for, only if they voted.
If you want to reach out to someone to remind them to vote, Vote With Me has come up with a few prewritten messages for various relationships. You can pick one and use it as a jumping-off point, or post it right into your messaging app.
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