Michigan's democracy was put to the test in 2020. The Voters Not Politicians Education Fund quickly stepped up to the challenge to ensure that voters knew all of the options available to them to cast their vote in a safe, convenient, and secure way. Given COVID-19 and the increasing unpredictability with USPS mail delivery, VNPEF set out with a goal to encourage as many voters as possible to vote absentee and drop off their completed ballots at a local drop box. The challenge was getting accurate, up-to-date information to voters on where local drop boxes were located, as many jurisdictions were still installing them just weeks before the election. At the time, there was no reliable, easy-to-use tool that served that purpose.
To solve the problem, VNPEF, in partnership with All Voting is Local, retained Menlo Innovations to develop www.MichiganDropBox.com, an online lookup tool to empower voters to find the secure ballot drop boxes in their municipality. Our staff managed the development of the tool and volunteers quality checked each and every drop box location with local clerks across the state on a continuing basis. Once VNPEF launched the tool, our team put the full strength of the organization behind connecting with voters statewide to promote its use.
More than 600 volunteers sent 610,667 text messages to voters statewide in the 2020 cycle, including 485,993 to promote the drop box tool. VNPEF also strategically promoted the drop box tool through digital advertisements and billboards. Overall, the tool was a success, with 56,580 visits by voters looking to find a secure local drop box in their voting jurisdiction.