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Vote Rock It: The App Changing Political Campaigns

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Matt Hudson is bringing together the world of politics and technology – and his app, Vote Rock It, will change the way political candidates campaign.

“Vote Rock it is a platform for political candidates,” says Hudson. “Basically we put an app in the app store inexpensively so they can get out the vote, raise money and increase name recognition.”

Vote Rock It, is an inexpensive and easy way for candidates to get exposure to voters on a mobile device. Vote Rock It is an app creation platform that is meant to be the WordPress of app creation for political campaigns. Here’s what you should know:

  • It levels the playing field: “Even the smallest candidates can afford our tier one version, it’s 500 dollars a year, which depending on the size of the candidate that should be pretty affordable,” says Hudson.
  • Push Notifications: Hudson says when a user downloads the app, they want to interact with their politician: “It’s important to engage with them not only over the app itself but through push notifications, responding in real time to issues that are going on in the national or local news,” says Hudson.
  • Other Key Features: According to their site, candidates can also accept donations and “turn advocates into volunteers with crowd canvassing.”
  • Perks for upper tier Users and larger candidates: “You can upload a list of registered voters, those voters show up on an iPad on a map based on their geo-location and your volunteers can go door-to-door taking notes about those voters,” says Hudson.

Additionally, interest for Vote Rock It is growing. In April, the company released it’s first app for Asa Hutchinson, the Republican Candidate for Governor in Arkansas. Another app powered by Vote Rock It has also been used by Lucas Roebuck, a Republican Candidate for Arkansas General Assembly. Vote Rock it creates apps for an party and the next will be used for a democratic candidate running for congress in California.

Millenials and Consultants: How Vote Rock It is Spreading the Word

 Hudson says capturing the millennial vote is very important and he says the best way to get this generation involved is through technology.

“It’s no longer an option and if you no longer have it [technology], you’re no longer going to be considered legitimate,” says Hudson of candidates.

While getting millenials on board might sometimes be a challenge, Hudson explained that he has to also pitch to political candidates and consultants.

“Consultants want to be innovative too, they want to provide campaigns with as much data and as many tools as possible,” says Hudson. “We’re approaching consultants because they represent the majority of the campaign and of course the politicians are a little harder to get to.”

Collecting Data and the Future

 “Candidates have a dashboard and it aggregates the data, so we basically say here are the people who say they’re going to vote, here are the people that have reached out to their neighbors through the mapping system, here are people that have shared on twitter, on Facebook,” says Hudson.

Hudson also says there are a number of ways Vote Rock It can use data in the future.

“If it gets bigger I think there are opportunities to provide candidates with information about who they should be talking to and who their advocates are,” says Hudson. “But we’re not yet there because we have a very small amount of data.”

Advice for Young Entrepreneurs

As both a developer and entrepreneur, Hudson has been in the startup community for a number of years. From his own experience, his advice to young entrepreneurs is to build strong relationships.

“Relationships matter so much, whether or not you’re going to be successful is based on who you need, who you talk to, and who you can help,” said Hudson. “If you have expertise in something offer that expertise up.”

Another thing young entrepreneurs can learn form Hudson is seeing an opportunity in any field. For example, Hudson’s interest in combining politics and technology began a number of years ago; Hudson, along with his brother, sold websites to his dad’s political friends and he has quickly realized there were similar opportunities in the political community for apps.

“I think there are a lot of opportunities for startups in politics, says Hudson. “I think politics are very traditional, but politics is a market for tech as much as anything else.”

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About the Author

Amanda Quick is a tech/startup reporter and founder of The Next Zuck, a site and web show that highlights student-run startups, college entrepreneurs, accelerators, events and more. Amanda is a honors graduate of Syracuse University where she studied Broadcast & Digital Journalism with minors in Marketing and Chinese Studies. She has interned at Brand-Yourself, NBC Sports, The Times Leader Newspaper, Fleishman Hillard in Hong Kong and the 2012 Olympic games in London. She plans to enroll in the Information Management Graduate Program at Syracuse University's iSchool next year to continue to combine her passion of journalism and technology. When she's not reporting, she is spending time with friends and family, traveling, or reading tech news. To learn more about Amanda, you can visit amandalquick.com or aquickstartup.com

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