Long Distance Voter

Date Awarded
Grant Period
07/22/15 to 01/17/18
Focus Area
Media Innovation
Knight News Challenge

Project Links

Grantee Contact

  • San Fancisco, CA

Featured Media

Making it easier to vote by mail by using mobile technology to allow voters to request absentee ballots with their smartphone.

Long Distance Voter wants to increase voter turnout by making it possible to sign up for an absentee ballot using smartphones. According to the Pew Charitable Trusts, more than 25 percent of all ballots were cast by mail in 2014. Three states, Oregon, Washington and Colorado, have transitioned to a standard vote-by-mail system, with all three experiencing higher turnout and lower election administration costs. Voters in other states currently need to print and mail their forms in order to submit absentee ballots, which is difficult for many in an increasingly digital age. Long Distance Voter will use DocuSign’s electronic signature technology to enable citizens to complete, sign and mail their absentee ballots directly from their smartphones.

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Project Team

Debra Cleaver

Debra has been working at the intersection of technology and democracy since 2004, when she as a national director for Swing the State, an online resource that matched volunteers with voter mobilization efforts in swing states. She is a seasoned product manager, with over 8 years experience building consumer-facing web applications for a variety of innovative brands in the entertainment, commercial, and online organizing sectors. Debra started Long Distance Voter as a side project in 2008 with the goal of demystifying the absentee voting process. By 2012, longdistancevoter.orgwas one of the most heavily trafficked voting domains.

News and updates

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