Opening a new frontier in voter enfranchisement, a new smartphone application is putting information at voters’ fingertips.

The app was created by Election Protection, a coalition of voting rights groups, and offers a variety of tools to help voters on Election Day.

“With the wave of vote suppression legislation that has crashed through state legislatures since 2010 the level of voter confusion could be heightened,” Eric Marshall, manager of legal mobilization for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, told the AFRO. “A lot of people in the everyday world who are hearing about these voter suppression efforts are saying, ‘What can I do? How can I fight back?’ And this tool empowers people to do that.”

With the application, which is available for all smartphones, voters will be able to: Verify their registration status, look up their polling place with mapping capabilities, verify the type of machine they will use, access a FAQ and key dates for their state, fill out a voter registration form and contact Election Protection.

The application will be especially helpful to younger voters, who are technology-focused.

“With an electorate that is increasingly young, diverse, mobile, and technologically savvy, finding ways to leverage new technology to increase civic engagement and education is critical,” said Rock the Vote President Heather Smith, who participated in a press call on Aug. 9. “We’re excited to be partners in this effort to bring voting information directly into the hands of the people that need it most.”

And the tool is also critical for minority voters, who are disproportionately targeted by voter suppression initiatives.

“The NALEO Educational Fund is concerned about efforts throughout the country to make registering to vote and voting difficult and inaccessible,” said Arturo Vargas, executive director of the National Association of Latino Appointed and Elected Officials. “A vibrant democracy requires full participation by its voters; many states, however, have taken steps to suppress and discourage voting. To overcome these new obstacles, we encourage Latinos and others to utilize this tool and become well informed about their rights as voters.”

The free application is available now at App.866ourvote.org and in the Google Play store. The Spanish version will launch by the end of August. 

Zenitha Prince

Special to the AFRO