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The Ad Council in the US has just launched an automated tool within Facebook’s messenger platform designed to walk prospective ballot casters through the sign-up process and provide election-day logistic information with a bit more personality than the average online form.
The nonprofit PSA maker is hoping the program, named GoVoteBot, will not only simplify and personalize the task, but also provide some amusement along the way.
Just type a simple introductory greeting to the bot, and it will respond with a dropdown menu of options including a polling location finder and absentee options in addition to registration options and links.
Once you inform the bot that the process is completed, it responds with a celebratory note: “You’re looking at one proud GoVoteBot!”
The integration is made possible by data pulled from Google Civic and the U.S. Vote Foundation.
It is to be mentioned that Facebook is donating free ad space to promote the effort, along with several ad networks and media companies. The campaign also involves outdoor digital billboards and a forthcoming online commercial.
The Ad Council, which is committed to non-partisanship in all of its campaigns, has a decades-long history of encouraging civic engagement. But this project marks the first time it has ever experimented with automated bots.
The original plan for the campaign was even more ambitious, a full-scale online voting system but the group quickly realized that the individual state rules governing such an undertaking would entail an impractical amount of help from the federal government.
So the creative team pivoted and decided a tool within Facebook’s newly launched bot network might pique the interest of young people, who are notoriously apt to be no-shows at the polls.