QR Codes for Election Campaigns: How Can They Be Used?
Last Updated: October 7, 2020
Political campaigns are multi-billion dollar phenomena, reigned by professional politicians and political consultants using state-of-the-art technology solutions. Political campaigns are not merely a civic ritual and an occasion for political debate.
An election campaign constitutes a myriad of operations – field organizing, collecting voter data, targeting voters, understanding the political landscape, and campaign marketing to name a few.
Luckily, technologies such as QR Codes for election campaigns can help campaign organizers ease and streamline the process to maximize their outreach.
According to George Alafognis, a digital strategist for Washington D.C-based New Media Strategies and former deputy director of new media for the Republican National Committee, QR Codes help close the loop between online activities and real-world events.
He says, “We’re seeing individuals rely on their phones, and QR codes present an optimal framework for that. There’s an opportunity for campaigns to reach out to mobile-savvy individuals and transmit a message that will lead to activation.”
With QR Codes, there is great potential for branding election candidates, collecting supporters data, and fundraising.
6 ways QR Codes can be used in election campaigns
QR Code voting system
Voter QR Code: QR Codes on voter slips
Maximize campaign branding
QR Codes for campaign donation
QR Codes for polls and surveys
#1 QR Code voting system: Drive voter registrations to enable election campaigns
Votes are the most important part of any election campaign. Election campaigns are carried out to gain maximum support from people via votes. But if your supporters can’t register to vote or find it difficult to register, the whole point of the campaign becomes moot.
In several states, like Colorado, it is possible to register voters online. Thousands of young voters move out of their hometown and when elections arrive, they are forced to re-register at their current address, which becomes inconvenient for most people.
Reaching out to voters using viral QR Code campaigns would make registration easier for potential supporters. States that support online voter registration will likely see an upturn in the percentage of voters, and QR Code-based election campaigns can maximize the technology to bolster awareness efforts.
Political parties use QR Codes in a number of creative ways to get potential supporters to register. QR Codes are embedded in yard signs, on T-shirts, and even newspaper advertisements to encourage them to register.
Getting supporters to register to vote is simple – encourage them to scan the QR Code and link the QR Code to the campaign website to include their details.
Rock the Vote helped voter registration with a mobile landing page enabling young voters to register in 2016 Presidential election campaigns. The QR Codes were linked to a mobile landing page where users could register to vote, watch videos, and engage with the company.
“We choose specifically to use QR codes to target the Millennial generation, who are always on the go and use their mobile devices all the time,” said Amanda MacNaughton, co-founder of PromoJam.
Election campaigns are quickly picking up QR Codes. With the rising popularity of smartphones bearing in-built QR Code scanners in their native camera app, it is inevitable that this surge is going to spike even in the upcoming November elections.
The 2020 Delhi Assembly elections made use of QR Codes on voter slips to facilitate electors and speed up their identification using booth app. Voters could download their digital photo voter slip from the Voter Helpline app and link their mobile number with their voter ID card or EPIC number.
The dedicated QR Codes could be scanned so the voter could cast their vote without any hassle.
Typically, people turn out in large numbers for election campaigns. Voter identification is a manual and tedious process, which can be eliminated by leveraging QR Codes.
Allot a unique QR Code to each voter for easy identification and embed it on their voter slip. When the voter scans the QR Code at the polling station, they are identified immediately and can cast their vote hassle-free.
#3 Maximize campaign branding
Election campaigns start anywhere from several months to several years before election day. Once a political candidate decides to run for election, the campaign is kickstarted – this could be a simple press release to speaking on media outlets to even campaign tours.
Campaigns often dispatch volunteers into communities to meet with voters and persuade people to vote for the candidate. Regardless of its effectiveness, it is still a manual and tiresome task.
1. Embed QR Codes on yard signs, flyers, and banners
The process can be made much simpler by including QR Codes in local community election campaigns. Political campaigns can use QR Codes to engage with voters of all age groups via diverse channels including direct mail, yard signs, flyers, and banners.
Campaign signs on lawns, windows, and sidewalks can be utilized to generate interest and the candidate’s views and thoughts about the causes they support. QR Codes for election campaigns are approved by a lot of the younger voters as it is easier to access information and support them.
2. Provide voters with exclusive access to information about the political candidate
QR Codes for election campaigns can help voters access exclusive information and updates about the candidate for office, important developments in the polls, and even an exclusive invite to a rally can be promised from scanning a QR Code.
QR Codes can be even used to direct the voters that scan them to their social media where they can update themselves about the latest changes in the campaign, support them through creative ways, and even register to volunteer.
Taiwan’s Statebuilding Party legislative candidate Wu Cheng-Jui included a party-produced political cartoon and a QR Code in the local newspaper linking to access more detailed information about the party’s goal and theme upon scanning the QR Code.
Political campaigns garner immense attention due to its nature. Including QR Codes in local newspapers, magazines, flyers, and yard signs with the promise of providing them extra information can guarantee a positive raise in the percentage of supporters.
In the 2008 presidential election campaigns, the spotlight was on small donors for fundraising. These donations were largely collected from email solicitation. Imagine the type of outreach that could be bolstered by real-life interaction by using technology like QR Codes.
Previously, a canvassing campaign would target a neighborhood, campus, or festival and ask for donations. Asking for donations manually not only looks suspicious, but there is also no way to authenticate the source or solicit it.
1. Share campaign donations on social media
With QR Codes, it is easy to collect, promote, and even track donations. The donation experience could also be made social – the contributor can instantly share their donation across social media and encourage friends and peers to match the donation.
Not just that, provide supporters with exclusive content, merchandise, or pictures from a celebrity supporting the political party for chunky donations.
2. Make use of QR Code payment
Make use of QR Code payment partners such as PayPal or Venmo to make it easier for voters and supporters to donate seamlessly.
This also eliminates suspicious activities. QR Codes can be used to authenticate the payment source. Encourage donors to scan the QR Code and link it to a page that confirms the political party’s authenticity.
Embed QR Codes on boxes, organize a charity event, or fairs to support their parties and favorite political leader that encourages voters to donate.
#5 QR Code Polls: Survey and polls to tally voters
Political polls and surveys are an essential tool used by political parties in organizing their campaigns and crafting a strong message to appeal to the masses. Modern polls are a form of survey research using a random sample of the population to produce as an apt picture of public opinion while still accounting for some margin of error.
Many respondents simply slam down their phones when asked to answer poll questions, because they are not appealing anymore.
Switching to QR Codes to receive answers for surveys and polls is not only easy but also quick. It helps campaign managers attract a great deal of attention for their ability to digitize the process and help predict the outcome of the elections.
Dynamic QR Codes help campaign managers to determine voter preferences. While most voters usually make up their minds, QR Code polls presented in an engaging form can help change their minds and boost voter turnout.
Cory Alpert, the managing director at South & West, previously worked as regional chief of staff for the Buttigieg race says, “We use QR codes – mostly on mail pieces and flyers. Campaigns are starting to get better about using QR codes, especially in putting UTM parameters or source tracking behind the link so they can tell where traffic is coming from, but it’s happening slowly.”
Political campaign managers can also make use of this data to retarget potential voters on Facebook and Google with relevant advertisements based on their scan activity.
Previously, most countries and states required voters to authenticate their identity at the polling station to be allowed to cast a vote. Post the elections, the votes are counted manually by poll workers.
This process is not only tedious but also inaccurate and inconvenient.
With e-voting, voters can cast their votes wherever they are.
The e-voting system uses QR Codes to cast a vote and is based on visual cryptography. Each voter is granted with a password that is encoded in the QR Code. The voter has to simply scan the QR Code to unlock their password.
The password retrieved can then be entered into the voting platform for authentication, and then the voter is allowed to cast their vote.
E-voting system aims to gain high levels of security as voters cast their vote remotely and are accessed only upon scanning the dedicated QR Code provided to them.
QR Codes allow a transparent communication system to state election servers to show how the voter cast their vote without compromising any privacy.
Fasten processes with QR Codes for election campaigns
The number of voters equipped with smartphones is gradually increasing by the day, and so, political parties have jumped on the bandwagon and leveraged the QR Code technology to automate their election campaigns to reach out to more voters.
The process of scanning a QR Code is extremely simple, thus making it an efficient tool to make elections faster, easier, and more secure.
Young voters outnumber elderly voters and the prima facie factor they look for is technology-driven campaigns that are forward, relevant, and appealing to garner more votes. QR Codes for election campaigns help deliver exactly that.
QR Codes in conjunction with other technologies such as blockchain technology, IoT, big data, and smart online voting systems can help campaign managers to track votes, tally them, help them register, and maximize the technology to fullest to help fasten the election campaign process because of their robust and seamless functionality.
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