“Get Out The Vote” is the mantra for the politically-active but based upon voter participation statistics in past races, a healthy chunk of Philadelphians just won’t or don’t vote. For a big election like 2016 U.S. Presidential race, on average, about 60 percent of the city votes. For primaries, it is closer to 20 percent and due to a surge in voter interest for the midterms, 40 percent of all registered voters is expected, according to the Committee of Seventy, Philadelphia’s non-partisan good government advocacy group.
The non-profit group is doing its part to get those numbers a little higher – without telling citizens who to vote for – through their new app, WeVote, designed using the customizable app platform created by Philly’s own MilkCrate LLC and available for Android and iPhone.
“There are various things that get people to turn out, and one we thought we could tackle was promoting a culture of voting,” explained Lauren Cristella, Chief Advancement Officer at Committee of Seventy. “People who don’t think they have enough information to cast an informed vote, they think it’s better to stay home. So we try to get as much information as humanly possible in front of people, so they know they’re casting an informed ballot.”
The app lets users score points through various voting related activities while connecting them to resources on Seventy’s website – including their 2018 voter guide, and a sample online ballot that allows users to enter their address in advance and see which specific races they will get to vote on during this election, get info about the candidates and their rights as voters. You can report in what number voter you are at your specific ward and contribute to a citywide study Seventy is conducting on voter turn-out.
Anyone can join and sign up with public teams, including by political party, or organizations and businesses can create groups to connect users and let them compete with one another.
“It’s creating a cultre where were crelbrating voting,” Cristella said. “It doesn’t matter how you vote, just get out to the polls and make your voice heard.”
A woman walks out of the voting booth after casting her vote in Philadelphia during a recent election. (Charles Mostoller)
Get Out the Vote
Germantown Friends School did their part to “Get Out The Vote” as students organized a postcard-writing campaign during their free period to send notes to registered voters across Philly, urging them to exercise their right to vote.
“We hope our postcard campaign encourages people to vote and realize how important it is. The handwritten notes show that we care,” said sophomore Asaf Lebovic, one of the organizers of the student campaign. Sona Wink, another organizer, added, “Since we cannot vote yet, this is our way to make a difference and encourage voter turnout.”
The office of the Philadelphia City Commissioners has information available for voters, including polling place locations, at PhiladelphiaVotes.com.
For questions, problems or information, call the City Commissioners’ Election Day Hotline from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. at 215-686-1590, or contact Com
The Philly DA’s Office Election Fraud Task Force will have 60 prosecutors and 20 detectives on staff all day. To report fraud or other problems, call the Task Force at 215-686-9641, 9643 or 9644.