U.S. businesses incentivize voters to turn out for midterm elections

2018-11-07 02:11:15 GMT2018-11-07 10:11:15(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

WASHINGTON, Nov. 6 (Xinhua) -- As Americans head to the polls on Tuesday to vote in one of the nation's most highly contested midterm elections, U.S. companies have launched campaigns to encourage voters to cast their ballots.

Technology companies are among the most active players in this election season. By asking Amazon's Alexa "What's my election update?" users will be presented with up-to-date information on the Congress and state races specific to their registered constituencies.

Google Assistant also advises voters on where to vote and keeps them updated about real-time results as the ballot counting goes on. Apple's Siri can either answer election-related questions, or, if no immediate answer is available, can direct the user to a relevant webpage or Apple's News app.

Jointly launched in September by a diverse group of companies across the United States, the Time for Vote campaign is aimed at increasing election turnout and raising employees' awareness about political participation.

"The companies joining this campaign are committed to increasing voter participation through programs such as paid time off, a day without meetings and resources for mail-in ballots and early voting," read the campaign's press release issued on Sept. 24. Participants of the campaign include The Gap, Pay Pal, Walmart, among others.

Rideshare company Lyft launched the "Ride to Vote" campaign in the summer to facilitate voters' commute to polling stations. "We're committed to providing 50 percent off rides across the country, and free rides to underserved communities that face significant obstacles to transportation," the company said, citing the fact that transportation issues hindered 15 million registered voters their chances to vote in the 2016 presidential election.

Industry giant Uber does not want to be left out as well. It announced in October steps to help Americans vote, including adding a tool to the app to help voters book rides to their polling places, offering free rides, and providing users with voter registration resources.

Dating apps have also wasted no chance to exploit their share of exposure in the election season. Bumble, which boasts 41 million users worldwide, allows users to display their intention to vote on their profile, and makes it easier for users to find similarly civic-minded partners who want their voices to be heard.

Others that have followed suit include online matching app Tinder, instant messaging app Snapchat, as well as music app Pandora. They all come up with unique ways to persuade their clients to turn out and vote.

Twitter and Facebook, both having testified at congressional hearings related to election-meddling in the 2016 presidential race, appear determined to rebrand their images this time around.

Media reports said that as of Friday, Twitter had deleted more than 10,000 automatic accounts designed to keep people away from the polls.

 

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