Motivote Makes Voting Social

Today, in our continuing series on tech tools for Vote Captains, we talk to the creators of Motivote! Motivote is a web app that harnesses the power of behavioral economics to make voting fun, easy, and social. We spoke with CEO and co-founder Jess Riegel to find out more about it.

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How does Motivote work?

Motivote is a web platform that harnesses the power of social accountability and gamification to make voting fun, easy and social—so that people actually do it. Our strategy is rooted in research-backed principles of social monitoring.

To join our platform, users create or join a team and make the commitment to follow through with voting. Leading up to election day we cue up bite-sized actions that are statistically proven to make people more likely to show up, things like making a voting plan or looking at a sample ballot. Users send us screenshots to "verify" that they have completed the actions and track their team's progress on the dashboard. We also show them which of their teammates have voted so they know whose case to get on with reminders!

As teams complete the steps to prepare and vote, they earn points and face off against other teams for the opportunity to win real-life rewards and raffles. We also team up with partners to feature specific bonus challenges that make participating even more enticing. (For example, right now everyone who plays a HeadCount madlibs voting plan game is entered to win Levi’s Swag Bags and a YEAR’S WORTH of Ben & Jerry’s.)

Who are Motivote’s creators and what inspired it’s creation?

Our founders, me (Jess), Emily, and Rachel, met in an MPA program at NYU's Wagner School of Public Service. As part of the program we had the opportunity to propose a business case for a new social venture. This was in 2017, and while there was a ton of energy and enthusiasm after the 2016 election, we wanted to do something to help ensure that this new wave of activism translated into concrete civic action over the long-term.

Having observed that many popular approaches to engaging young voters weren’t working well — traditional GOTV strategies like phonebanking and direct mailing are cost-ineffective and they don’t reach young people at all — we started thinking about how principles of behavioral economics could help people bridge intention and action and came up with Motivote.

How can Vote Captains use Motivote?

Part of a Vote Captain’s job is to help their team overcome the real and imagined "microbarriers" that so often get in the way of voting — things like I'm too busy, I spaced on the absentee ballot deadline, or I don't know enough about the candidates/issues.

We not only provide an easy step-by-step system of reminders to help your team get ready to vote, but we give you the tools to follow up, showing you which your friends followed through. It’s an easy and fun way to get your team involved in the process and motivated to actually participate since there are prizes on the line!

Is Motivote nonpartisan?

Yes! Anybody can use our platform to organize their own team of voters.

Where can people find it?

We’re easy to find at (or click below).

Is it free?

Not only is it free, but there are prizes!

In some states, however, we do offer a feature that allows users to make a financial pledge to vote. Behavioral science tells us that because humans are loss averse, having financial skin on the game is THE most effective way at getting them to do something. So if you really want to make sure you follow through, we let you put your money where your vote is. You can chose any amount, and pick any 501c3 organization as the recipient -- a cause you support or oppose, depending on what's more motivational to you. (So if the NRA getting your money is more likely to make you go vote than Habitat for Humanity getting your money, pick the NRA.) Your card information is securely captured and stored by a third-party payment processor. Then, you have 48 hours after polls close to verify you voted and, if we don't get a selfie from you by, we charge your card.