Tiny start-up group hopes to increase voter engagement in Wisconsin by making it easier for the younger generation.
Young Madison-based tech entrepreneurs unveil a new online service that aims to help eligible voters cast their ballot on-the-go without having to do the tedious, time-consuming work. “Millennials are the next leaders of our nation, yet we are more engaged with our smart phones than we are with politics,” says Michael Fenchel, co-founder of Vote (Mostly) Online. “The problem is not that we don’t care, the problem is that the current voting process doesn’t fit with our mobile lifestyle.”
The new website is touted as a free, non-partisan service available to all eligible Wisconsin voters — though it focuses on Millennials, because only 23 percent of that age group voted in the previous gubernatorial election.
The website takes care of the required paperwork after the potential voter completes the online process. “Our fulfillment center prints out their forms for them and mails them to their house in a package,” according to Fenchel. “That makes it very simple for them to review the forms, sign them, and put them back in a pre-paid, pre-addressed envelop to their local clerk.”
Fenchel says the process is made easy for the young generation that doesn’t have printers, envelops, or stamps. The Vote (Mostly) Online website allows voters to register, request an absentee ballot, and find information about candidates in just minutes.
Reid Magney of the Government Accountability Board says he appreciates efforts to make voting easier; the agency has provided “constructive comments” to the young group, but has not endorsed the website. The GAB’s MyVote.WI.gov website already gives people a convenient way to register to vote using an online tool that generates a printable, mail-in form.
Fenchel calls his offering a “full web service,” which is mobile friendly.