The WeVote app from nonprofit Committee of Seventy, built by impact-focused dev shop MilkCrate, looks to stir up civic engagement among the smartphone generation ahead of the Nov. 6 midterm elections.
On the sleek mobile app, users add tiny pink gems to their war chest as they check off specific tasks: 5 gems for registering to vote, 10 gems for volunteering or attending events, another 50 for sending in your absentee ballot. On their way to earning “Super Citizen” status, voters get a roadmap to democracy in a gamified environment.
“This is a tool that we hope builds and reinforces the culture of voting and civic engagement in Philadelphia,” said David Thornburgh, CEO and president of the good-government group. “It makes many services available to voters in just one place.”
MilkCrate’s Chelsey Smith said the app will let users “share their passion” for local democracy.
“WeVote […] connects you to others who love being able to shape the future of their community by learning about issues and candidates, sharing that with others, and coming out to vote out on Election Day,” Smith said.
So why did a 114-year-old nonprofit want a mobile app? Thornburgh said it was just one of the avenues the group has picked to engage with citizens, specifically the growing mobile-first population.
“You gotta take a swarm approach,” said Thornburgh. “To the extent that this encourages conversation from one person to a larger group, whether that’s coworkers or ward members or neighbor associations, then it’s a tool for reinforcing identity and a culture of voting.”
Another way the nonprofit is leveraging digital platforms is through Draw the Lines PA, a civic education and engagement effort that uses Azavea’s open source software DistrictBuilder to teach Pennsylvanians how to redraw Pa.’s gerrymandered electoral map.
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