Need to Register to Vote? There’s an App for That

Sometimes, getting a friend to do something is as easy as saying “plz.”

VotePlz is a new app geared towards helping smooth the process of getting millennials registered to vote, getting them to the voting booths, and having them spread the word to their friends as well.

The VotePlz homepage

One of the app’s developers, Conrad Kramer, along with his friends, noticed a gap in millennial registration when it came to states that didn’t offer the opportunity for online registration.

“We realized that, right now, the registration [procedure] for states without online verification is really bad. You have to get a PDF, print it out, put it in an envelope, address the envelope, put a stamp on it, put it in the mail. And a lot of millennials don’t have any of those things, whether it be an envelope, stamp or printer,” said Kramer. “So we were thinking about ways to make that a lot easier.”

Currently, 31 states and the District of Columbia offer online registration for potential voters, while seven other states have passed legislation, but have not yet implemented systems for it. The National Conference of State Legislatures even has a breakdown of the states that have the registration and links to the website where residents can register.

If you’re a resident of one of those 19 other states, VotePlz will fill out a form for you with your information, send it to you, complete with instructions and an addressed and stamped envelope. “So all you need to do is take it out, sign it, and throw it back in the mail,” said Kramer.

But the app is more than just getting the individual registered. After confirming that users are already registered, or helping them to do so, the app provides a crucial referral link that users can tweet, post to Facebook, or send directly to contacts in their phone.

Based on how many people use their referral link, users are entered into a sweepstakes for scholarships, student debt forgiveness, cash, or gift cards. This adds more incentive to share and encourage friends to register. The incentives just make it harder for millennials to say no to registering.

“The sweepstakes in some regard incentivizes you to recruit your friends, which we think is very important for people to exert social pressure on their friends to register to vote because that’s really effective. But we also think it will get a lot of attention as well, so people will hear about it and think about registering to vote,” said Kramer.

Kramer noted that sharing and going viral on social media was also important because that’s where the “millennials already are,” consuming and sharing news content.

The app was even featured in a banner on the popular forum site, Reddit, for National Voter Registration Day and was on the front page of Apple’s App Store.

And the developers are looking past mere voter registration. They want to make sure they are effective up until election day rolls around on November 8th.

“The ultimate conversion for us is not just getting people registered, it’s getting them to go to the polls. […] We definitely want to make sure they’re aware of when the election is and where they need to go,” said Kramer.

Millennials now make up as much of the electorate as the Baby Boomers, according to new information released by Pew Research Center. Millennials are aging into voting, but they’re hardly turning out in full force.

According to NPR, less than half (46 percent) of millennials voted in the last presidential election. Kramer doesn’t want that the be the case in this upcoming one.

“It’s really important that everyone has their say, especially young people, which are traditionally disincentivized to vote or don’t care about it. We think it’s really important that generation take some ownership of their future and decide to vote. This election especially more than others.”

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