VoteAmerica's 2020 text-based voter helpline (VHL)

VoteAmerica's 2020 text-based voter helpline (VHL)
Volunteers responded to voters from within Slack, via an interface that anonymized the voter and protected privacy

Prepared by: Rachael Firestone, Jennifer Lauv, Jeffrey Rodriguez, and Meghan Smith. Published: October 19, 2021


The VoteAmerica (VA) Voter Helpline (VHL) connected more than 14,031 voters with trained volunteers to help answer their voting questions, including questions about ID re- quirements, polling locations, and submitting absentee ballots. While other organizations ran a helpline using phone calls during the November 3, 2020 General Election, VHL was the only program that used texting. The program provided support to voters during the November 3, 2020 General Election and the January 5, 2021 Georgia Senate runoff election. This report focuses on the timeframe VHL operated during the 2020 General Election. The report also includes data from a VHL volunteer survey fielded in January 2021.

Voters were directed to VHL via VoteAmerica’s cold SMS outreach, warm SMS, social media, word of mouth, and the VoteAmerica website. 7,410 of the 14,031 voters who used VHL were successfully matched to the voter file. Nearly 80% of the 7,410 successfully matched voters were among VoteAmerica’s target universe - unmarried women, voters of color, and young voters. 4,058 of 7,410 successfully matched voters voted (54.8%). The total cost per vote was approximately $0.50.

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