From Passion to Scale: Bringing People to the Polls with the Carpool2Vote App
With the countdown to the election in full force, modern politics has combined with technology to help shape the social landscape with Carpool2Vote. The non-partisan app seeks to empower women voters and increase voter turnout by connecting voters needing a ride to the polls.
What started as an experiential learning project for Nicole Wild Merl and her mentor, Thomas Cook, through Northeastern’s first virtual Education Cooperative, has now grown into a community of activists sharing their voices and providing free rides to the polls through their app. Carpool2Vote is a digital platform of WomenVotes, a blog and social platform.
“To develop the platform, we had to do research and decide on the technology that could help create something from passion to scale. Given the nature of elections, and considering that we are a nonprofit with two of us on staff, we needed something that was fast, scalable, and secure. And for our end users, we needed something that was reliable and easy to use,” said Nicole, co-founder of WomenVotes and Carpool2Vote.
WomenVotes used the AWS Cloud to combine educational studies with a political purpose in order build and iterate on their Carpool2Vote app in time for the elections. By running their app on the AWS Cloud, Nicole and Thomas were able to take the heavy lifting out of building their infrastructure so they could focus on what matters most to them – getting voters to the polls on election day.
“We wanted to develop an app that provided free rides so there was no excuse for anyone not to get out and have their voice heard in the elections. We joined together and believed in a cause. As individuals, we know that technology levels the playing field and allows us to make a difference,” Thomas said.
Carpool2Vote has the power to make an impact. Carpool2Vote is bringing people to the polls who may not have had the access or opportunity to get to their polling location on their own. It is also encouraging and building a community by allowing volunteers who are passionate about voting to help those who may need extra encouragement to get there. If they reach their goal of ten thousand users during this election period, then that is ten thousand users who may not have voted. Since launching Carpool2Vote and WomenVotes.org early this year, Nicole and Thomas have been joined by a community of collaborators that include government representatives, women’s networking associations, and media companies. Using the AWS Cloud, WomenVotes was able to build Carpool2Vote in time for the general election, and will continue to grow using the cloud.
“With WomenVotes being a grassroots organization, Amazon Web Services allows us to grow as an organization, advance our mission, and reinvent how we look at the future,” said Nicole.
Learn how to use Carpool2Vote in this video below.