SMS (Text Message) Notification Setup
ElectionBuddy allows you to send SMS notices to the voter's cell phone. The SMS notice includes either an access link, which will take the voter to a page to enter their access key and password (if required), or a ballot link, which has the voter credentials embedded and takes them directly to the ballot; either of these can be used to vote instantly from the cell phone. It is an extremely convenient and successful notice method for voters, as most people have their cell phone in their hand, or near them, at all times. If voter turnout is an issue for you, using SMS notifications can help you increase turnout by increasing voter convenience.
How to Set Up SMS Notices
You will be required to know your voters' cell phone numbers to use SMS notices. To set up SMS notices:
- In the "Notice" stage, select "SMS notices" and any other notice type you want to use for your election.
- Select the default country code for the voters' cell phone numbers. If you have voters living in different countries, then select the country where the majority of the voters live.
- In the "Voters" stage, enter the voters' cell phone numbers with the country code. For example, 1-123-456-7890 for the North American-based voter. If you do not know the country code for a voter, try looking for it here, or ask Google.
- Finish setting up your election, and get it started!
Notes About SMS Notices
- SMS notices are treated the same as email notices in ElectionBuddy.
- If you have made a typo in a voter's cell phone number, then ElectionBuddy will notify you about the error on the "Voter List and Status" page when the election is running (see The "Undeliverable" Voter Status).
- SMS reminders can be sent to voters who are using SMS notices.
- You don't need to use SMS notices for all your voters if you don't have all your voters' SMS numbers; simply choose a secondary notice type for the voters without SMS numbers!
The SMS notices are extremely constrained by size. Please only use ASCII (A-Z, 1-9, etc.) characters, and not the other unicode characters, as these characters are larger than your standard ASCII characters. They may cause your message to be too large, and that may compromise whether your notices will be sent.
Please note: if you only have cell phone numbers for some of your voters, you can still utilize SMS notices for those voters! You can use more than one notice type for any election - this is called a "multi-channel" election. For example, if you had email addresses for all your voters, but only cell phone numbers for some of them, you would select both email and SMS notices, and then when inputting your voter list, include the cell phone numbers that you have, as well as all the email addresses. Voters that you have both cell phone number information and email address information for will receive notices in both ways, making them all the more likely to vote.