The new and potentially game-changing VotifyNow app provides tools to help voters ensure elections are clean and transparent. Founder Johnny Vieira says his app favors no party and is "extremely smart. It looks at data, finds patterns of behavior, and lights up geo-targeted areas on a map" with input from users about suspected election irregularities. Other functionalities are already positioned on the app but will be further developed at a later date. For now, Vieira's team is laser-focused on the functionality of two key dimensions of elections; election integrity and candidate awareness. The app was released for beta testing in December of 2021.
VotifyNow is Active Now for Mid-Terms
Vieira's team developed the app to put the will of the voter front and center. He had a huge "aha" moment "halfway through the build" when he realized that the app should be as decentralized as possible. The focus of VotifyNow should be squarely centered "on the People and for the People," says Vieira. The main admin panel for VotifyNow takes in data and vets it for false flags and other outliers. However, the data does not stop there, nor is it ultimately centrally controlled. To truly reflect the grassroots efficacy and power of the app, he told UncoverDC that the data must then "go back out to its community of users."
"The data should also go where other people can access it," Vieira emphasizes. "First, You know, there's a real incident, but the minute we verify that it is or appears to be some type of real incident and not some kind of false flag, we then push that out to everybody. This has a sort of threefold effect, one total transparency.
It's all open-source. Everybody can see what's going on. One person might not think that the red van at midnight at a drop box was a little weird, but now you know, three people in a parking lot are now talking about this at the drop box, right? Now it gets people talking. It gets people involved. It's almost like community journalism. You're getting the community involved. That's a game changer.
How Does VotifyNow Work?
The app allows users to report incidents and observations of suspected irregularities at a drop box, polling location issues, or vote counting issues. Those data are recorded by photo or video and sent through the app with a verbal observation from the user to the admin (or brain) of the app, where the data is then filed. Algorithms then examine the data for "suspicious activity," which is passed on to other local co-admin users assigned to monitor the activity. The data is then sent back to the local community of users, who can share the data with each other.
The responsive and recursive feedback/sharing loop is at the heart of the app. The data is ultimately shared with a community of users who can select the "Additional Incidents" button on the menu to review other incident reports. In other words, as users themselves begin to engage with each other, a more granular pattern of potential irregularities emerges at the local level. The sharing also importantly helps the community of users to "know what to look out for." Right now, users and admins can see written descriptions of potential irregularities. Notably, an imminent update to the app will be the addition of color-coded dots on an interactive map denoting a range (benign to flagrant) of concerns over observed events. Vieira's team hopes to have the interactive map feature installed and functional by the end of August.
The election integrity tools interface is explained simply in the following VotifyNow tutorial:
The Co-Admin Panel
The permission-based co-admin panel is a critical piece of the VotifyNow ecosystem. The co-admin panel consists of local people who "know their communities best." VotifyNow is a strong proponent of the Precinct Strategy, which promotes grassroots-level election-oriented activity at the precinct level. A precinct is the smallest unit in the voter ecosystem and is the most effective way to reflect and communicate the will of the voters. Co-admins are vetted for their legitimacy and integrity by multiple sources. Permissions can also be turned on or off if a bad actor tries to hijack the app. Vieira explained:
"The co-admin panel is another way to decentralize everything. Now there isn't just one big company handling or controlling all this information from users. We are letting communities be in charge of running and managing their own users of the app in their town."
The co-admin panel is also vital to the Candidate Awareness function on the app. Co-admins can vet and then input local, legitimate candidates on the app. The candidate appears in a pop-up window on the screen, allowing the user to choose whether they wish to know more about the candidate. Moreover, the users can then share their impressions of the candidates.
"I love this part of the app," said Vieira, "How the Hell do we know what candidate is good in Ohio? This gives users the ability to share information with each other with the ultimate result being a more informed electorate."
Viera Shares a Sampling of User Reports
The VotifyNow app is now live in approximately 20 states and could be an impactful game changer for the future of elections. Vieira's team shared with UncoverDC an exclusive look at a sampling of voter reports that have already come in from users.
The reported incidents are potentially meaningful and show the power of the app once it gets into the hands of voters. To be clear, the data below was summarized data sent to UncoverDC, meaning the original data comes into the database in a much more detailed format. Photos, short videos, and PDFs can be included, and all files are timestamped and often include nearby landmarks:
VotifyNow/User Data/Elections 2022
VotifyNow App in Future: Expanded Tools to Clean Up Voter Rolls
While VotifyNow's current priority is user reporting and sharing for election integrity and candidate awareness, future features will include attention to canvassing using a CampaignSidekick type of interface to help a community clean up vote rolls and voter registration files. Future functionality will also prioritize local elections with a concentration on school board and city council races.
Viera clearly makes it clear that he is agnostic about political affiliation when it comes to using VotifyNow. VotifyNow is for all citizens. His idea was born when he saw the messy gubernatorial race in 2018 between Kemp and Abrams. He began to wonder how he could increase trust and faith in elections and, voilà, VotifyNow was born. With citizens like Viera and tools like the ones offered on the VotifyNow app, it is becoming increasingly difficult for Americans to argue that there is nothing they can do to change the status quo. America is still a country where everyday citizens can make a difference. The right mindset and purposeful engagement are well within reach of any willing American.