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  • Writer's pictureJack Alford

An App to Remind Your Contacts to Vote Blue

I'm too old and married to have any experience using Tinder or other dating apps. But I get that it's easy to "swipe left" or "swipe right" to make a choice.

And swiping left or right is how you use the new SwipeBlue smartphone app to send texts to your Democratic-leaning friends and family to encourage them to vote in the all-important November election.

Here's how the app works: After downloading it from the iPhone App Store or Google Play, and installing it on your phone, you allow it to check your contacts' phone numbers against public voter databases. The result is a list of contacts who lean Democratic, Republican, or unknown. By swiping left on each of your Democratic contacts, you send them a personalized text that emphasizes how important the upcoming election is, and encourages them to vote for Democratic candidates. The creators assure us that no data are saved, and your privacy is protected. They also claim that a personal message is much more effective at influencing behavior than texts from strangers.

In my trial of the app, I found that some of my contacts who I know are Democrats were not identified as such. This could be because the database doesn't include their mobile phone number, or has them under a slightly different name -- if I find out how to get around these problems, I'll post an update. Also, you may be asked to allow the app to save your data, to support a research project to assess how effective this type of messaging actually is in increasing voter turnout. As a former researcher, I'll probably allow it -- but you can say No to protect your privacy.

If you'd like to read more about SwipeBlue, check out their website at . To install the app on your phone, open the app store for either iPhone or Android, and search for "swipeblue."

This sounds like a fun and easy way for us all to help get out the vote, and to get Democrats elected up and down the ticket. "If every Democrat votes, Democrats will win!" Now, if only swiping right on your GOP friends would make them stay home on election day....

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