Daryl Hall & John Oates Launch Helpful Getting Out The Voates Smartphone Hotline

By Etan Vlessing 11/5/18 | www.samaritanmag.com

Hall & Oates — photo credit: Mick Rock.
Daryl Hall and John Oates are helping U.S. mid-term voters identify and get to their polling place via a “Getting Out the Voates” hotline the legendary pop duo developed with California tech players Twilio and Lyft.

The Hall of Fame rockers have unveiled a smartphone app, courtesy of Twilio's cloud communications platform, that allows U.S. voters to dial up (540) 4-VOATES (540-486-2837) and hear a message from Oates.

Getting Out The Voates With Daryl Hall & John Oates is a free service, with standard call and SMS rates applying. 

Users can then opt into a text message bot that helps guide them through the voting process across America. And prospective voters are encouraged to download the app for Lyft, the rideshare company, to take advantage of a 50 percent discount on Nov. 6 — election day — to get to their polling location to vote.

“Encouraging people to vote is something we have always supported and valued," Oates said in a statement. "I'm happy to be part of this simple new way to learn about voting options, while also enabling more accessibility to the voting polls.”

The initiative to get out the vote designed for the digital age is useful because election rules in the U.S. vary by state and by county.

The Get Out the Voates initiative also builds on the pop duo's existing phone hotline Callin' Oates (719-26-OATES) which features a robotic voice helping users listen to one of four Hall & Oates songs at any one time.

Michael Selvidge, who developed the Callin' Oates hotline when he formerly worked at in Twilio's communications department is also behind the Getting Out the Voates hotline initiative.

"Lime most of my good ideas, the pun came first, then a vision for the app followed," Selvidge explained in his own statement.

He identified Lyft making a commitment to help get voters out to the polls.

And Twilio's text platform has already been used to encourage voting through initiatives like Democracy Works, which sends text reminders about upcoming elections, and links to voter registration forms and local polling places, complete with maps.

The Democratic National Committe has also used Twilio's SMS platform to create its own hotline to connect callers across the country with state representatives to record and report on polling place issues, including voter suppression.

So Selvidge and Hall & Oates used Silicon Valley technology designed for political campaigns to organize voters and get them to the polls on November 6.

"... I messaged some of my contacts with Daryl Hall & John Oates, Twilio and Lyft and the rest is history. It was an incredible team effort from a lot of folks who are passionate about the idea," he added.

Erin Reilly, vice president of social impact at Twilio in her own statement said "Callin’ Voates lowers the barrier of entry for people trying to get to the polls, and we’re pleased to be partnering with Lyft and Daryl Hall & John Oates on this initiative.”

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