People are 18 percent more likely to vote if they've formulated a plan to do so before election day. And this year, polls show that 70 percent of Americans would rather vote by mail than in person.
That's the basic calculus that led to the creation of Protect Our Winter's newest political effort, a digital tool called Make a Plan to Vote that does just that—helps people understand how they can vote safely this year, and makes it easy to do so.
"What differentiates this tool from many others is that it's a one-stop shop," said POW executive director Mario Molina. Rather than requesting a mail-in ballot from a government website (which, all too often, can be a clunky and arcane process), POW's tool acts as an intermediary with a clean interface and easy-to-follow instructions.
"If you use our platform to request a mail-in ballot, POW will send you a pre-filled form and a stamped envelope so that all you have to do is sign it, seal it, and stick it in the mail" Molina said.
The tool also allows users to set reminders for important election deadlines, research information about nearby polling stations, and more. All of this functionality is delivered via POW's characteristically clean and intuitive web design.
The project was funded by several anonymous individual donors and a group of charitable foundations across the country. Together, these supporters have provided funds for 40,000 prepaid envelopes for mail-in ballot applications, a sum of roughly $60,000.
Brands in POW's coalition are also getting involved in the effort.
"The North Face, Burton, Jones Snowboards, New Belgium Brewing Company, Skullcandy, and others will be helping us promote the tool on their social media channels and through their networks," Molina said. "Some of them will also include widgets on their websites that allow customers receive more information about the tool."
Though it's only been live for a couple of days, Molina said the tool has already attracted hundreds of users. A short promotional video will be released in the coming weeks. As for community engagement, Molina said the most important thing people can do—aside from using the tool—is to get the word out.
"Follow us on Instagram, sign up for our email list, but most of all, share the tool with your network and hold them accountable," he said. "That's the only way we'll make an impact—if we mobilize everybody."