Democracy Works Leverages Technology to get Critical Information to Voters

Industry: Nonprofit

Location: Brooklyn, New York

At Democracy Works, ensuring that voters have access to timely, accurate information is a round-the-clock job. The organization works to increase civic participation by using technology to streamline the voting experience for voters and election administrators. Their products include TurboVote, an online voter engagement platform, Ballot Scout, a ballot tracking service for voters and election officials, and the Voting Information Project (VIP), which uplifts accurate and official voting information into online tools Americans use every day (like Google and Twitter).

As both TurboVote and VIP are 24-hour services that millions of voters depend on, reliable technological infrastructure is a nonnegotiable for Democracy Works to build and maintain trust. Moreover, election information varies across thousands of jurisdictions within the US, and changes constantly. 24/7 awareness of these changes is necessary to keep information current and systems running.

PagerDuty technology helps Democracy Works stay on top of things. Democracy Works’ uses PagerDuty to manage their on-call schedule, allowing the team to respond to incidents in a timely fashion, and helping to mitigate disruptions. The organization has integrated PagerDuty with Pingdom and Datadog to page on-call staff in response to incidents detected through automated checks. They have also integrated Slack to allow any staff member to manually page on-call rotations as needed.

This system was put to the test in 2020, with dozens of critical primaries and elections, and a rapidly-evolving coronavirus pandemic that upended elections across the country. In several early primaries, public health concerns required changes to election procedures mere hours before these elections were scheduled to begin. PagerDuty provided Democracy Works with the infrastructure necessary to respond to these situations quickly, and peace of mind that someone would always be reachable to help.

In 2020, Democracy Works’ TurboVote sent more than 68 million personalized text and email reminders to over 10.3 million voters. VIP powered Google’s official election data, providing voters across the country with the information they needed to confidently cast their ballots, in a year when the phrase “how to vote” was searched more than at any other time in Google Trends history. In fact, Democracy Works’ How to Vote guides were seen over 2 billion times across Google products alone.

Moving forward, Democracy Works plans to deploy its tools to help combat misinformation and racial injustice in our democratic processes. In the next election cycle, they hope to further increase voter participation from a diverse cross-section of the US population. Democracy Works believes that reaching this goal will lead to a healthier democracy, one where all voters can make their voices heard and have their votes counted.