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Text Messaging Service Helps Register Voters

A text messaging service called HelloVote launched Thursday to allow people to register to vote in minutes by texting or using Facebook Messenger.

HelloVote takes an average of 90 seconds to register and can register citizens in all 50 states.

People who wish to register can text HelloVote at 384-387. The service asks for the user’s name, address, birth date, and driver’s license or the last four digits of his or her Social Security number.

For states that require a signed copy of the voter registration form, HelloVote will mail or email the user a copy. HelloVote covers the cost of postage if the user chooses the mail option.

HelloVote is part of the nonpartisan, digital rights advocacy group Fight for the Future, and its goal is to get a high turnout for the Nov. 8 election.

HelloVote uses encryption on sensitive data such as state identification numbers and birthdays.

“We take your privacy seriously and we would never do anything shady with your information,” HelloVote’s website said.

HelloVote said that it adopted the appropriate data collection, storage, and processing practices to protect against unauthorized access, alteration, disclosure or destruction of personal information; however, “the HelloVote Providers cannot guarantee that your information is 100 percent secure.”

HelloVote also uses third-party service providers to run the voter registration servers. These third parties have access to the personally identifiable information that users provide, but they’ve agreed to keep the information confidential and use it only for voter registration purposes.

HelloVote will also share personally identifiable information when required to do so by law and will share aggregated demographic, nonpersonally identifiable information with third parties.

The HelloVote website warns users to refrain from providing inaccurate information because states could review the case and consider the actions a criminal offense.

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