Decades of research prove that when we make a concrete plan, we’re more likely to follow through.
The problem is the way we “make a plan to vote” strategies (think: postcards & phone calls) don’t align with the way we’re used to organizing the rest of our lives.
We recently released some exciting updates to our plan-making tools on Motivote.
Our inspiration? Issues we faced ourselves.
As founders, we’ve been on both sides of the voter drop-off problem. We’ve been the campus organizer chasing down students with a clipboard, and the would-be voter who missed the ballot request deadline while living in a different city.
As we thought about the most impactful ways to help voters, we knew we needed to make it simple to make a voting plan – and then actually stick to it.
Here’s how we built this feature — and why.
The more nuanced your plan, the better
At Motivote, we’re sticklers for details. Nuance helps you think through potential pitfalls and leaves less to chance.
The plan-making tool puts this into practice.
For example, for users voting by mail, instead of saying, “Pick a day to return your ballot,” we prompt voters to pick whether they want to return their ballot by mail or in-person. Each requires a different set of steps.
If returning in-person, they pick whether they’ll bring it to an election office, early voting site, polling location or dropbox (depending on what their state allows.)
For in-person voters, instead of saying, “Remember to bring an ID,” we prompt voters to enter the specific type of ID that they plan to bring — and we remind them of it the day before they plan to vote.
Recommended deadlines to reduce mental math
As Voting By Mail took center stage in the 2020 Elections, a lot of voters were stuck doing mental math – to make sure their ballots were requested “at least 15 days out from Election Day” and in the mail “at least 7 days before the return deadline.”
Our plan-making tool automatically calculate the recommended deadlines for requesting and returning absentee ballots. This guidance makes it easier for voters to make decisions and follow through.
Visual cues to make your calendar clear
When it comes to voting – there’s rarely such thing as a single, straightforward deadline.
In some states, the only thing that matters is when election officials receive your ballot – no matter when you put it in the mail. In others, there is a “postmarked by” rule (when it needs to be in the mail) and a “received by” rule (when it must arrive).
In some states, those deadlines are precariously close. In Texas for example, your ballot must be postmarked by Election Day but received by the day after – which means, you can’t actually put it in the mail on Election Day.
With our visual calendar, we show you when each deadline is – and why it matters.
Personalized reminders help you follow through
Making your plan is one thing – acting on it is another.
Once voters create their plan, they enter a funnel to get an automated reminder the day before their planned voting block and a check-in 2 hours after their planned block to see if they followed through. (If something happened and they didn’t vote, they get prompted to make an updated plan.)