Mobile Commons Provides Polling Place Locator in the Wake of Hurricane Sandy – A Press Roundup


Over the past week, Mobile Commons has worked with New York and New Jersey officials to be sure that all their citizens know where to vote. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, many polling places throughout both states had to be moved. That meant that many citizens weren’t sure where to go vote – an especially large problem when so many communities had no power. As a result, Mobile Commons made our polling place locator available for free to the State and City governments. People could text WHERE or DONDE to 877-877 to learn where their unique polling place was.

Here are some of the press mentions and news stories that covered the polling place locator. We’re also including a few of the numerous tweets and Facebook posts from organizations, public officials, and celebrities that spread the word across social media.

 “If you’re not sure on Tuesday where to go to vote, all you have to do is text 877877, and send your address. They will immediately text back to you where your polling place. So there’s no reason why anybody shouldn’t vote. We’re going to have a full, fair open voting process.”

–        New Jersey Governor Chris Christie

“Text NYCVOTES to 877-877.”

–        New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg

Those who don’t want to miss out on Election Day can ensure they participate with a few tech tools. New York-based company Mobile Commons has set up a texting service, using data from the Voting Information Project and Google’s Polling Place Locator to let those in affected states know where to vote.

–        CBS News

“In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, many New York and New Jersey residents are unsure about where to cast their ballot on Election Day. The web’s got plenty of resources to help, but what if you’re among the thousands without power?

If you’ve got a charged cell phone and a signal, you can call or text …for the latest info:”

–        Mashable

While Hurricane Sandy has forced last-minute changes to many planned poll sites in Tuesday’s election, up-to-date information on voting locations is now only a text message away.

–        NYC Votes press release

“Add the impact of Sandy to recent redistricting, and it’s the perfect storm – sorry – for a very confusing election day. What if your usual polling site doesn’t have power, or it’s being used as a shelter? Here in New York City alone, about 60 polling sties have been moved or combined. And that’s where text messaging comes in.”

–        WNYC’s New Tech City

“One of our API users, Mobile Commons, built a custom instance of an SMS-based polling place locator to allow voters to send a text for the latest information.”

–        Google Blog

“Text WHERE to 877-877 for updated polling place info, courtesy of Mobile Commons.”

–        New York Observer’s Beta Beat blog

“Voters without Internet or spotty cell phone service can also text “NYCVOTES” to 877-877, using a newly-launched system courtesy of NYC Votes! and Mobile Commons.”

–        DNA Info

“New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced on Sunday that at least 59 polling places throughout the city cannot open because of storm damage or loss of power. Luckily, there is an easy way for voters to learn where to go: a texting service provided free of charge to the city by New York-based Mobile Commons.”

–        Xconomy

Local tech companies such as Mobile Commons have developed a text-message based poll site locator for voters in New York and New Jersey

–        City and State

“New Yorkers can also text “NYCVOTES” (or “DONDE”) to 877-877 to receive a message on their phones with their poll site. The technology is being donated to the city by Mobile Commons.”

–        Gotham Gazette

“Mobile Commons  provides a free texting service informing displaced residents where they can vote. Both New Jersey and New York residents can text “NYCVOTES” to 877877. They receive a prompt asking for an address. Then the service returns updated polling location. Amanda Moskowitz, general manager, said the program is updated as they get information from the Board of Elections.”

–        NY Convergence

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