Vote.org is a nonprofit organization that’s rapidly removing barriers to voting. Founded by Debra Cleaver in 2008, Vote.org is on a mission to increase voter participation by utilizing technology that makes it easy for everyone to vote online, and to eliminate printing, faxing, mailing and scanning voting-related documents.
Recently, Vote.org announced they had reached 1,000,000 unregistered voters by SMS, urging them to vote. Their efforts were tremendously successful. Over 500,000 people that weren’t voting before are voting now because of Vote.org’s disruptive approach. Pretty cool, huh?
That disruptive, forward-thinking nature of Vote.org makes us particularly excited to announce that they’ve chosen the HelloSign platform to make it possible for absentee voters to fill out their ballot application entirely online for the first time in history.
By integrating the HelloSign and HelloFax APIs, absentee voters in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Nebraska, Kansas and North Carolina can now use Vote.org to apply for an absentee ballot entirely online, bypassing the issue of state governments not offering an online alternative.
To think that because of our technology, more people were able to vote this year… well, we’re at a loss for words. We’re totally over the moon about it.
HelloSign for Vote.org
Vote.org knows that the percentage of Americans with a printer at home is rapidly declining (and has been for quite some time now) and they needed a way to bring the frustrating, offline process of filling out an application for an absentee ballot online. This wasn't simply a matter of saving people headaches. It was a matter of giving people the means to share their voice and participate in the electoral system which founded this country.
Debra said, “It’s 2016. Asking people to print and mail a form is the same as saying, ‘We understand you won’t be able to do this — therefore you won’t vote — and we are OK with this.’ But that couldn’t be farther than the truth. We are absolutely not OK with this. That’s why we’re helping states update their antiquated technology by building better systems that voters can use today, without waiting for local governments to secure the time and money to upgrade their systems.”
So began Vote.org’s journey to find an integration partner that would not only fit a very specific and complicated use case, but that checked all the right boxes:
- Powerful and customizable API. Vote.org needed a way to embed the process directly their site so visitors could complete the entire process during their visit.
- Intuitive interface for voters. Since Vote.org wants to remove as many barriers to voting as possible, they needed a solution that’s as easy to use as possible.
- Minimal time to implement for Vote.org. Elections run on a strict deadline. The more time Vote.org had to introduce the new system to voters, the better.
- Transparent pricing. As a nonprofit business, Vote.org needed a solution without any hidden fees or price hikes.
- Awesome customer support. It was important for Vote.org to be able to communicate quickly and efficiently during the integration.
The HelloSign API makes it possible for voters to easily add a photo of their manual signature (still required by some state governments) to the ballot application directly on Vote.org. Once the ballot application is completed, Vote.org uses the HelloFax API to automatically fax the ballot application to the appropriate local election office and the local election office gets the hardcopy fax of the application.
- Voters are happy because the experience makes voting easy and accessible to everyone.
- Vote.org is happy because we’re helping them achieve their goal of 100% voter turnout.
- Local election offices are happy because they get the faxed hardcopy of the application they require.
A Closer Look at the Integration
The Vote.org integration is extra special for us because it illustrates the value of the HelloSign platform, which consists of HelloSign, HelloFax, HelloSign API and HelloFax API. Vote.org used a combination of the HelloSign and HelloFax APIs to make their dream workflow a reality.
When we asked Debra why she decided to integrate instead of build the solution themselves, she said, “We don't believe in reinventing the wheel at Vote.org, which means we don't build solutions that we can buy. Your entire company is dedicated to electronic signatures — it's smarter, faster and cheaper for us to partner with you than to build our own solutions.”
Here’s what the final result looks like:
Absentee voters land on this page from Vote.org when they click to submit an application for their absentee ballot. Voters fill out the form with their name, voting address, date of birth, political party and email address.
Next the voter is asked how they’d like to complete their form. This is an example of how data validation comes into play. Vote.org set up a rule that voters can only select one of the boxes below. Checking both boxes would render the application invalid, so Vote.org is able to avoid losing votes this way. We check the 2nd box because it prompts the HelloSign flow.
When they voter presses finish, the HelloSign API kicks in and brings up an iFrame. You’ll notice that the information the voter originally filled out is automatically applied to the ballot application. This is our template feature at work. Then the voter selects “Get Started.”
Next, the voter gets brought to the only part of the document that needs their attention. There’s no need to go searching through the complex form to find where they need to sign. We also show the voter how many fields are required before they can complete the process. It’s only one field in this case (though the voter can fill out the additional fields if they’d like).
When they click on the signature box, they’re prompted to upload a picture of their handwritten signature.
Voters upload the image and then have the option to rotate or increase contrast. When the signature looks good to them, they select “Insert."
Here’s what the almost-final-step looks like:
That’s it! The voter is then notified that their application will be faxed shortly and they can find a downloadable copy of the completed application in their email.
A Word From Our CEO, Joseph Walla, About the Integration
"Our integration with Vote.org is particularly exciting because it illustrates the value of combining our platform, HelloFax and HelloSign, to power a very specific and critical workflow. We’ve always known that eSignatures are an important piece to any business, but to know that more Americans are able to vote because of our partnership with Vote.org really brings that to light. We’re honored to be chosen by Vote.org to bring value to voters and to help bring an end to voter drop out due to frustrating, outdated systems."
A Word from the Founder of Vote.org, Debra Cleaver
“We evaluated our options to integrate an eSignature and faxing API to get the job done and nothing compared to HelloSign. The HelloSign and HelloFax API were able to accommodate a very specific and unique workflow, their documentation is extremely straightforward, their customer support is unparalleled and we were up and running in a small fraction of the time it would have taken with other vendors.”