Alexa Adds Election Information Just in Time for Midterms
Today the Alexa team announced the addition of election information to their long list of query responses, right in time for the midterm elections. Ballotpedia – a nonprofit, nonpartisan digital encyclopedia – partnered with Alexa to offer local ballot information, including how and where to vote, voter registration deadlines and options, and poll times. Alexa also partnered with the Associated Press to offer real-time updates on election results, and how candidates are polling. Echo Show users will be able to see graphics of query responses.
Alexa, what’s on my ballot? Alexa, how many seats did [party] gain?
Accuracy a Main Focus, Now and in the Future
A large portion of Alexa’s blog post announcing this update emphasized the importance of using accurate information. Amazon’s Bill Barton, Vice President of Alexa Information, stated in the blog post announcing the new skill that a ‘war room’ of writers, engineers, and data scientists were brought together to ensure correct information was used and will be used for future election queries.
With informational Q&A being one of Alexa’s most popular features, Amazon didn’t want to miss out on an important national event. Not only does the inclusion of election information offer consumers what they want, but it adds to consumers’ reliance on Alexa. There is nothing like debating someone about politics, and then having a statistic confirmed via a smart speaker. Then again, what if it contradicts what you just said? Some people would likely prefer to remain ignorant.
Amazon also emphasized that Alexa election information would be available for future elections, such as the primaries and presidential election in 2020. Alexa is trying to establish itself as a permanent fixture in consumers’ lives. The ability to provide timely, and accurate information, is a strategic move to ensure Alexa’s inclusion.
Promotes Voter Participation
In addition to backing up personal arguments, this feature may promote greater voter participation, which historically has been much lower than international standards. This removes an excuse to not vote – just ask Alexa. Let us know on Twitter what you think about Alexa’s the new election information service.