FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Friday, March 31, 2006

Text the Vote

Election Day in the US is 7 months away, but already an experimental venture called TXTVoter is ramping up, with the goal of registering young voters at concerts and other events attracting teens and young adults this summer. The initiative is funded by grants from Pew, coordinated by Young Voter Strategies, and supported by Music for America.

The idea is simple: At these venues, attendees will be given instructions for requesting voter registration materials via SMS. The materials will then be (quaintly) mailed to their homes. Come Election Day, participants will receive text-message reminders to vote. Several prominent bands, including Green Day and Death Cab for Cutie, have signed on to promote TXTVoter.

It will be interesting to see what impact, if any, TXTVoter has on youth voter registration, or if the concept is dismissed as a gimmick using technology for technology's sake. Also, since many of the groups behind TXTVoter are pointedly liberal, will this alienate more conservative youth, and might conservative organizations see an opening for a competing initiative of their own?

Sources: Smart Mobs, Personal Democracy Forum