Civic Technology

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Campaigns' Thoughts on Civic Technology

According to the articles that are available in the public domain, election campaigns and civic volunteer organizations are talking about the use of various types of technological processes to improve voter turnout in the United States during election periods. For instance, American Progress talks about the implementation of technological processes and systems like the Electronic Registration Information Center, Automatic Voter Registration, Same-Day Voter Registration, and online registration in the improvement of voter participation and streamlining of voter registration. Further details on our findings follows below.




  • New York City and the state of New York both suffer from very low voter turnout rates. This is evident from the 11% turnout of eligible voters in New York's 2018 congressional primaries.
  • The lack of civic education, the presence of antiquated election laws that purposefully result in voter suppression have all promoted to the low voter turnout witnessed in New York.
  • Recently, New York City's mayor Bill de Blasio filled the role of the city's Chief Democracy Officer demonstrating "both the need for innovation in solving New York’s crisis of democracy and the lack thereof in the solutions currently being pursued, or even discussed."
  • The problem in New York is inaccessible ballots and good government reforms like early voting and automatic registration recognize this problem and try to fix it in the right way.
  • Many New Yorkers are too busy with their personal and work lives to find time to vote in person. Consequently, "a simpler and more forward-thinking solution to voter engagement is to invest in election technology and allow for mobile voting." Electronic voting would provide a way for busy New Yorkers who do not have time to visit polling stations to cast a ballot online.





  • A common theme witnessed in the first two articles was low voter turnout being the result of barriers that are present in the voter registration and voting processes. These barriers can be in the form of election laws that result in the suppression of voters and eligible voters that feel alienated by the government.
  • All articles that are featured above also talk about various technological innovations and processes that can be used to improve voter turnout by improving access to information by voters, improving voter registration through Automatic Voter Registration, Same-Day Voter Registration, and online registration and making the voting process easier, convenient, and transparent through technologies like online voting, and the use of blockchain in elections.


To identify articles, surveys, and studies that discuss what election campaigns and civic volunteer organizations are saying about the need for technology in the improvement of voter turnout and volunteer recruiting in the United States, we started by searching through research, government, election campaign, and civic volunteer resources. By targeting resources of this nature, we were able to find insightful information on the research question at hand. However, some of the available articles and studies were outdated leading us to dig deeper for relevant ones that answered the research question fully. Consequently, we supplemented our first research strategy with a search for relevant resources on media, scholarly, and news resources that included Forbes, Medium, Google Scholar, and CNN. Through our two combined strategies, we were able to identify five articles on how technology and technological processes can be used to improve voter turnout and volunteer recruiting in the United States. However, some of the information found in the articles was specific to individual states, but because the information was relevant and within the scope of the research criteria, we choose to include it.
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Research on Civic Technology

We have provided three research studies on how civic tech can help increase voter turnout with technology and two research studies that help increase voter turnout. Based on our research findings, civic tech such as Automatic Voter Registration (AVR), online registration systems and sending SMS and email reminders increases voter turn out while the vote-at-home system and strengthened civics education in schools helps to increase voter participation.

Automatic Voter Registration (AVR)

Online Registration System

sending SMS and email reminders

  • A research study by which sampled a group that included 325,000 potential voters who received aggressive SMS reminders and 510,000 who received a series of email reminders noted that the email reminders seemed to slightly decrease turnout, but the result wasn’t statistically significant.
  • In reference to the study, voters that received SMS reminders, however, were .65% more likely to vote than those who did not. This effect was three times as large as the effect of sending unsolicited SMS election reminders to registered voters, even though both tactics had a statistically significant positive effect on turnout.


Vote-at-home system

Strengthen civics education in schools

Research Strategy:

We were only able to find three research studies on the use of civic tech to increase voter turnout. We were not able to find any studies on civic tech that are used to increase volunteerism. Our research strategies follow below.

1st strategy for both Voter Turn out and Volunteerism

We first looked for a list of studies/civic tech programs that helped to increase voter turnout and volunteerism in the U.S. With this strategy, we were only able to find a compiled list of effective programs with hard data and significant results based on research studies. However, there were only two research studies that use technology on the programs i.e. Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) and online voter registration. Using this strategy, we were not able to find any list of research studies that result in an increase of volunteerism.

2nd search strategy for Voter Turn out

Next, we switched gears and consulted research institutes i.e. organization related to U.S. voting research like Pew Research, SSRN, Research Gate, American Academy of Social Work & Social Welfare, American Progress,, and Councils of Foundations. Our aim was to find any research studies on how civic tech can help get out the vote. However, with this strategy, we were only able to identify one additional research study that met the research criteria.

3rd search strategy for Voter Turn out

Lastly, we consulted several government websites such as the National Conference of State Legislatures,,, and Secretary of State in our search for additional research studies that result to an increase in voter turnout. However, with this strategy, we are not able to find any additional studies that use technology in their programs. Therefore, we opted to provide two additional research studies of programs that are effective in increasing voter turnout based on research studies. This has been provided in the additional helpful findings section above.

2nd search strategy for Volunteerism

We consulted several U.S. government agencies that are related for civic tech, volunteer recruiting agencies such as AmeriCorps (and their umbrella programs like VIP, VIP k-12), Senior Corps, Social Innovation Fund, and in our search for research studies that could be used to provide the requested information. However, with this strategy, we were only able to find information on the market overview of volunteers in the U.S. which had data on volunteerism rates, numbers of volunteers, and other details that were not relevant to research. We were not able to find any relevant research studies through this strategy.

3rd search Strategy for Volunteerism

We consulted several research institutes in our search for relevant research studies. Unfortunately, with this strategy, there were no relevant research studies on how civic tech can be used to increase volunteerism. We were only able to find general information such as volunteerism in the U.S. currently being on stagnation. We also tried doing a press search in trusted media sites in our search for information, but this strategy was also unfruitful.