A new website tries to streamline the process of signing up to vote by mail.
VoteByMail.io is a new service created by volunteers with work experience at several prominent companies, including Google, Intel, Dropbox, and Nike, that aims to help registered voters sign up for a mail-in ballot. The site is available in nine languages, and VoteByMail has partnered with multiple state and national organizations, including Vote.org, to support the launch.
The site asks for your information, including your full address and name, and uses that information to locate your local election official and create a letter requesting a vote-by-mail ballot. After you fill it out, VoteByMail sends a copy of the request to the election official but also to you so you can see what was sent.
VoteByMail told The Verge that its website fully supports 16 states that allow you to email or fax a vote-by-mail request to your local official. VoteByMail plans to add support for eight more states, in addition to Washington, DC and parts of Pennsylvania that support digital registration, in the future.
For the remaining states, VoteByMail integrates with Vote.org to help voters fill out the necessary form. There’s an extra step, though: voters in these states will be required to print out and mail the document themselves.
Registering to vote by mail can be a tricky process that varies depending on the state you reside in. You’ll often need to find the right website, the right form, fill in the correct info, and find the right election official to submit the paperwork. VoteByMail streamlines the process by finding your local election official, assembling some basic information needed to request a ballot, and sending the whole thing off for you. You should still check with your local board of elections if you do not receive a mail-in ballot, to ensure you can vote when election season arrives.
VoteByMail does collect some of your personal information in the process of requesting your ballot. VoteByMail told The Verge this information is collected so that it can measure the effectiveness of its outreach, obtain user feedback, and hold election officials accountable if they fail to lawfully process vote-by-mail signups. VoteByMail says the website is built on “some of the most secure cloud technologies available,” so that your data is secured on its database.
Due to the pandemic, a lot of states are emphasizing mail-in voting because of the infection risks posed by going to the polls. Some states made it easier to vote without going to the polls due to the pandemic, while others have turned to vote by mail only.