Director of Communications, Democracy Works, Inc.
(BROOKLYN, N.Y.) — It was announced by Democracy Works, Inc. that it would become the new organizational home for the Voting Information Project (VIP) effective today. Today’s transition is the culmination of a months-long selection process spearheaded by The Pew Charitable Trusts to spin off the highly successful civic technology program that provides official election information to the public.
Founded in 2008 as a joint effort of state and local officials, The Pew Charitable Trusts, and Google, VIP is the most comprehensive and trusted single dataset of national, state, and local election information. VIP uses an open format to make election data available and accessible to a variety of platforms, bringing cutting edge technology to ensure that all eligible Americans have the information they need to cast a ballot. For instance, when a voter searches for “Where is my polling place?” on Google, a box appears at the top of search results that provides the information based on VIP data. This information is also available on the VIP-hosted GetToThePolls.org and through the Google Civic API, which many organizations use to power their voter engagement efforts.
VIP’s transition is a natural one. Democracy Works is an established presence in the elections space and has served as a data contractor on VIP since 2013. Democracy Works is the creator of the popular voter registration tool TurboVote and partners with hundreds of college campuses, as well as dozens of companies and nonprofit organizations, to engage millions of voters across the country. They have also contracted with state election offices to provide ballot tracking services through their Ballot Scout tool. Earlier this year, they were chosen as the new organizational home of the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED). Maria Bianchi, who for three years has served as the project manager for VIP within Democracy Works, has taken over as the program director.
“We are honored to follow The Pew Charitable Trusts as the new stewards of this important program, and excited to build on the work that’s been done for the past 10 years,” said Bianchi. “VIP serves every voter and that’s a responsibility woven into everything we do. Our mission at Democracy Works is to make voting fit the way we live, and we will continue to grow VIP, finding new ways to make official election information open and accessible to all voters.”
As a founding partner, Google will remain an integral part of VIP’s continued success as the program moves to Democracy Works.
“We are excited to support the next chapter of the Voting Information Project and are thrilled to be working closely with Democracy Works,” said Megan Ryskamp, who leads civic partnerships for Google. “We believe that making the world’s election information accessible and useful is important for democracy, and have been excited to contribute over the last decade.”
Since its inception, VIP has hit numerous milestones:
- In 2016, VIP received more than 120 million impressions from voters looking for election information.
- 10 states now use the customizable, embeddable VIP tool.
- In 2017 alone, VIP covered 165 elections at the state and local level.
- The VIP embeddable tool is offered in 17 languages, including, English, Spanish, Amharic, Chinese, Hindi, Hmong, Japanese, Karen, Khmer, Korean, Laotian, Oromo, Russian, Somali, Tagalog, Thai, and Vietnamese.