Baton Rouge: Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler received the accolades of his peers by accepting the 2013 NASS IDEAS Award during the National Association of Secretaries of State conference in Anchorage, Alaska. The national award recognizes innovation, dedication, excellence and achievement in state member programming, as well as significant contributions to the state information-sharing mission of NASS. Schedler was then elected by his peers to the organization’s Executive Board where he will serve as Secretary for 2013-14.
Louisiana was selected for the IDEAS Award for its creation of the Geaux Vote Mobile application and website. Geaux Vote was developed for smart phones to assist citizens in confirming their voter registration information, finding their polling place, accessing sample ballot information and finding their voting district.
"I want to congratulate my hardworking staff and thank NASS for this wonderful honor," said Secretary of State Tom Schedler. "We are proud to have created this phone app that instantly connects the Secretary of State’s office to busy Louisiana voters, eliminating the need to search for an agency website or call a registrar of voters in their parish to get reliable, up-to-date answers to their questions. This technology puts Election Day information in the palm of every voter’s hands and truly encourages participation by simply making it easier to vote."
The Geaux Vote Mobile app was developed by the Louisiana Secretary of State’s Office in partnership with New Orleans-based vendor GCR, Inc. and launched in 2011. The app is free and available online at the Apple and Android app stores.
"Geaux Vote Mobile exemplifies best practices in state government nationwide by reducing voter apathy and increasing participation," said NASS President Ross Miller of Nevada. "As one of the first states to embrace mobile technology for assisting citizens and increasing voter registration numbers, we are proud to honor Louisiana for leading the way on this issue and being willing to share their great idea with Secretary of State offices throughout the U.S."
Schedler told his colleagues that he believes the app has helped to increase voter registration figures, reduce long lines at the polls, get voters to the right precinct on Election Day and now provides real-time election results. Since 2011, there have been approximately 31,000 downloads—24,000 from Apple and 7,000 from Android—and that number grows daily.
For the 2012 Presidential Election, the app had more than 30,000 unique visits, meaning 30,000 Louisiana voters were assisted, sometimes multiple times, throughout the day. At the close of the Presidential Election, more than 1.9 million hits had been detected. As a result, Louisiana was one of only two states to improve turnout in the Presidential Election from 2008 to 2012 with 67.9% of registered voters casting a ballot.
"For me, this app demonstrates our commitment to customer service and the voters of this state," said Secretary Schedler. "We heard positive feedback from clerks of court, poll commissioners, call center staff and even a security guard who all said the Geaux Vote app was a tremendous tool in assisting the public with questions on Election Day."
All NASS IDEAS Award submissions were reviewed and ranked by members according to their history, significance and effects, resulting in three national finalists (Louisiana, Oregon and West Virginia). The members then voted to select the national honoree.
Schedler was also tapped to serve as Secretary on the NASS Executive Board for 2013-14. The members include:
Immediate Past President: Hon. Ross J. Miller, Nevada
President-elect: Hon. Kate Brown, Oregon
Treasurer: Hon. Jason Gant, South Dakota
Secretary: Hon. Tom Schedler, Louisiana
Eastern Region Vice-President: Hon. Jim Condos, Vermont
Southern Region Vice-President: Hon. Natalie Tennant, West Virginia
Midwestern Region Vice-President: Hon. Connie Lawson, Indiana
Western Region Vice-President: Hon. Kim Wyman, Washington
Member-at-Large (ACR Section): Hon. Matt Dunlap, Maine
Member-at-Large (NPA Section): Hon. Mark Martin, Arkansas
The national officers were elected by a full member vote at the NASS 2013 Summer Conference, held on July 18-21 in Anchorage, Alaska. They will serve a one-year term, ending in July 2014.
"I am proud to serve in this leadership capacity for NASS," said Schedler. "Louisiana leads the way with many of our laws and policies. It is my hope that I can share these ideas and assist other states looking to improve on their election processes."