Maharashtra State Election Commission has partnered with Gupshup to launch a WhatsApp chatbot with the goal of making democracy work better by informing citizens who opt-in to receive updates and engaging them in the electoral process. The chatbot will provide polling details including voter registration process/status, booth location, etc. The chatbot will provide candidate information, when available, to help voters make informed choices. The chatbot has advanced features to drive up voter enrollment, engagement, and turnout. The bot is available on WhatsApp and is very easy for anyone to use in either English or Marathi. The chatbot is developed by Gupushup, the leading conversational messaging platform.
Hon’ble Election Commissioner Mr. UPS Madan, said, “Our main focus with Mahavoter 2.0 is to expedite the voter registration process and encourage voters to come and vote. One of the major barriers due to which people skip voting is the lack of correct information and awareness around the election process and we are trying to do away with this with Mahavoter. Version one of the chatbot which we released in 2017 was a huge success; Mahavoter processed over 4.7 lakh messages.”
Deputy Commissioner Mr. Avinash Sanas said, “MSEC is proud to partner with Gupshup, WhatsApp, Litmus Test Project and KraftPixel and becomes a pioneer in using AI and Bot technology for the first time in the 2017 elections. There was an 11% rise in Voter Turnout then, active involvement of over 150 organizations under the Umbrella of SEC. This time in 2022 we plan to involve around 1,000 organizations, and we are sure to set an example of using Bot technology in Voter Awareness and Elections.”
Some of the key things that the bot will help users with include.
Registration Info and FAQs
Registration as a new voter
Search their name in the voter list
Registration of documents
Correction/omission of details
Litmus Test Project, a citizen collective based out of Mumbai which was also a part of the 2017 Mahavoter campaign, is helping the MSEC with tech and outreach strategy for the initiative. Mahavoter is off to a quick start having already processed over 77,000 queries in its first week.
Swaraj Shetty, Co-founder, Litmus Test Project, adds “Gupshup also built the first Mahavoter Chatbot in 2017. Their expertise and experience will enable the Mahavoter chatbot to engage voters better.”
Beerud Sheth, CEO and Co-founder, Gupshup, said, “We are glad to collaborate with MSEC yet again, with an even better version of the Mahavoter chatbot. The MSEC is a pioneer that is blazing the trail for other government agencies and similar organizations worldwide that are interested in driving citizen engagement. An informed citizenry lies at the heart of a dynamic democracy and we’re excited to play our part in enabling that.”