HelloVote wants to make registering to vote easier through text

New chatbot-based tool allows voters to register over text message or Facebook Messenger in under one minute.

Terry Collins Staff Reporter, CNET News
Terry writes about social networking giants and legal issues in Silicon Valley for CNET News. He joined CNET News from the Associated Press, where he spent the six years covering major breaking news in the San Francisco Bay Area. Before the AP, Terry worked at the Star Tribune in Minneapolis and the Kansas City Star. Terry's a native of Chicago.
Terry Collins

HelloVote is seeking to bring voter registration further into the digital age.


HelloVote wants to attract young and underrepresented voters through text and Facebook Messenger.

Getty Images

Launching Thursday, HelloVote said it's a chatbot-based tool that allows voters to register over text message or Facebook Messenger in under one minute.

Voters can go to hello.vote, text 384-387 on their mobile device, or go to m.me/hellovote in Facebook Messenger to start the registration process. The initiative, which is targeting millennial and minority voters, has the support of MTV, Rock The Vote, SEIU California, and Twilio, a San Francisco-based cloud communications company.

"Democracy depends on participation, and technology has the power to significantly reduce barriers that have traditionally stopped people from voting," said Twilio Product Manager Patrick Malatack.

With more than 57 million people -- or 28.5 percent of estimated eligible voters participating in the Republican and Democratic presidential primaries, according the Pew Research Center -- HelloVote is hoping to capitalize on National Voter Registration Day on September 27.

The nonprofit's goal is "to turn talkers into voters," said HelloVote co-founder Tiffiniy Cheng.

"The reality is that today we work, play and shop on our phones," she said. "HelloVote is a revolution in democracy making and brings voter registration out of the dark ages and into the current cycle, hopefully engaging communities and mobilizing underrepresented voters in the process."