BY IRIS DIMMICK | April 9, 2015
During a launch event on the steps of City Hall, ThinkVoting founders were joined by representatives from the League of Women Voters (LWV), SA2020, OCI Group, and Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff to help spread the word about the Austin-based civic technology company’s tool to connect voters to ballot information. The Voting App is the latest attempt to get registered voters to the polls in a city and state that have abysmally low voter turnout. Early voting begins April 27 – the day after Fiesta ends.
“ThinkVoting’s mission here is to become the technology hub for all of those that have an interest in improved civic engagement,” said ThinkVoting co-founder F. Joseph Santori. “(And to) inspire greater (voter) participation at a lower cost of time and resources for everyone involved.”
The mobile application tailors May 9 City Election information to users by address and compiles data from the League of Women Voters Guide, official candidate websites/social media accounts, and the candidates themselves.
For example, I live in Southtown, so when I enter my address, I see all the Charter Amendments and Propositions on the ballot as well as candidates for mayor and District 1. SAISD District 1 doesn’t have a trustee election this time around, but if I lived in SAISD District 2, 5, or 6, I would be able to view those candidates’ information as well.
“Utilizing that new technology, the League is able to once again cover the SAISD (candidates),” LWV of the San Antonio Area President Phyllis Ingram said. “The people that we elect in City and County government impact our lives much more than who we elect as president … that’s why it’s important that more than 8% of the public go out and vote in these elections.”
“This is a chance to change some dismal, dismal numbers,” Wolff said. “Texas ranks at the very bottom in voter turnout for elections.”
Civic Engagement is one of SA2020’s 11 Causes – increasing voter turnout is one of the nonprofit visioning organization’s top priorities.
“We sit at just over 7% of voter turnout for city elections,” said Interim President and CEO Molly Cox. “While that’s actually progress … we can do better.”
The Voting App also provides links to other resources like political party website, citizen groups, state voter information, election results, voter registration forms, absentee ballots, and more.