Chances are, you’re running into a little election fatigue. Pew Research found that 6 out of 10 Americans reported feeling exhausted by election coverage–and that was in July.
But the end is in sight. With less than a week left to go before election day, now is the time to make sure you’re informed, registered to vote and ready do your civic duty as a citizen of the United States. And Chicago tech is here to help.
Here’s a look at five Chicago tech projects, apps and startups that will make your life as a voter a little easier over the next week as the election season winds to a close.
Still undecided? Chat with the candidates on Future States
What if you could sit down with Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump and ask them exactly what they think about the issues most important to you? With FutureStates’ chatbot you can, sort of. Future States lets you “talk” one-on-one with Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Jill Stein (the Green Party candidate) or Gary Johnson (the Libertarian candidate) about issues through Facebook Messenger, Telegram, or a web app. The chatbot allows you to ask questions about policy or issues, and using artificial intelligence, sentiment analysis and natural language processing, the bot parses through a candidate’s archived speeches, debates, interview transcripts and social media posts to provide an answer based off what a candidate has publicly said.
Study up on the down ballot (with help from IBM Watson) with BallotReady
Deciding a presidential candidate is just one part of the ballot. This election, you could also be voting on Senate and House races, comptroller, judges and more. They’re smaller races, but all key political offices that influence the way you live your everyday life. BallotReady, the civic tech startup out of UChicago, is here to help you make sense of the down ballot races. All you do is input your address and it tells you what races are on your ballot, what candidates are running for each office and where they stand on issues. BallotReady used crowdsourcing to fact check candidates’ stance, and a program they designed by bringing in IBM’s supercomputer, Watson, to analyze data. You can search based on stances, endorsements and news.
Use Trump’s tweets against him through iKeedo
Social media has been a pervasive force throughout this campaign. And if you’re frustrated with a certain candidate’s endless stream of posts–say Trump’s Twitter feed–you can use iKeedo, an Evanston, Ill., startup, to donate money to Hillary Clinton’s campaign every time he tweets. Here’s how it works: On iKeedo, you choose a candidate (or issue) to support, an incremental donation amount and a maximum amount you want to donate. Whenever the opposing candidate (or an opposing viewpoint, defined by the service) tweets, iKeedo will donate money to your cause. Hillary Clinton’s campaign actually adopted the tech and uses it as a fundraising tool on their site.
Beat the Election Day lines with this map of early voting sites in Chicago
Election Day is going to be busy but you can beat the lines by early voting, which is currently underway in Cook County. There are over 50 locations where you can vote ahead of time and a Chicago Redditor put together a list of them. Take a look at the map and pop into the polls at your convenience.
Use data to ease your (Trump) anxiety through University of Illinois computer science’s Election Analytics
You’ve likely seen hundreds of polls over the course of the election, but none like this one. UIUC computer scientists are working on Election Analytics, a real-time, data-driven analysis of the likely outcome of the election ahead. It uses the same available polling data that sites such as Real Clear Politics and FiveThirtyEight use, but also looks at age and size of the poll, then breaks it down state-by-state. Then, it uses an algorithm that takes into account past elections to come up with their prediction.
Currently one graduate student and four undergraduate computer science students are working on the project (which originally launched in 2008). The professor behind Election Analytics, Sheldon Jacobson, said they’ve been 12 percent more accurate than Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight. As of Wednesday, they predict Hillary Clinton has a 99.96 percent chance of winning the election.