If today’s young people conduct much of their lives online, it only makes sense to bring voting to them online, as well. At least, that’s the thinking of a group of young, Madison tech entrepreneurs who have created a website called Vote (Mostly) Online. The service could tip the political balance slightly if it works, a key state pollster said, although how much is hard to predict. Vote (Mostly) Online is a service to help people register to vote, request an absentee ballot and get information about candidates. Voters who already are registered can have their absentee request form emailed to the municipal clerk. Those who are not registered will get a package in the mail with registration and absentee ballot forms to sign, and a stamped envelope in which to send them. “This is not actually voting; it’s mostly voting,” said co-founder Michael Fenchel.
The service is aimed at millennials, or those born after 1980, who are “are more engaged with our smartphones than with politics,” said Fenchel, 27. He said U.S. Census Bureau figures show fewer than one in four, or 23 percent, of voters in that age group cast ballots in Wisconsin’s 2010 gubernatorial election.
“The problem is not that we don’t care; it’s that the voting process doesn’t fit into our mobile lifestyle,” said co-founder Niko Skievaski, 27.
Fenchel said voters will be asked to name the candidates they think they will vote for, and the information will be stored in a database. A biographical capsule will be available on the website for each candidate on the ballot, provided by wisconsinvote.org, a website maintained by Wisconsin Public Television and Wisconsin Public Radio.