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Seattle company takes bold step toward voting online

LiveBallot is a webpage and smartphone app that lets voters interact with their ballot before Election Day and save and even share their ballot choices. KOMO News photo

SEATTLE -- Although you can’t vote online just yet, new technology from Seattle-based Democracy Live is the next best thing.

LiveBallot launched this week giving voters a one-stop portal for nearly every candidate race and ballot measure in the country.

“We give you better information than you've had before,” says Democracy Live Chairman Joe Brotherton. “The answer for an informed voter is technology, and that’s what we provide."

LiveBallot is a webpage and smartphone app that lets voters interact with their ballot before Election Day and save -- and even share their ballot choices.

Information is culled from politically agnostic groups like Project Vote Smart and OpenSecret.org. Staffers at the company’s University District office offer daily updates, pulling ballot details from ever county election office in the country.

Users can access information about a candidate’s experience, endorsements, funding and even discuss ballot measures with fellow users.

Only three states, Washington, Oregon and California, provide taxpayer-funded voting pamphlets, so most voters must seek out the same information on their own.

“They often just show up at the polling station without any knowledge of what’s on the ballot,” says LiveBallot CEO Bryan Finney. “This can eliminate that."

Finney claims LiveBallot can do that for 200 million Americans and currently covers 80 percent of all candidate races and ballot measures in the country.

A unique feature of the app and website is it lets you share a virtual replica of you ballot on social media.

“We call it the social ballot,” says Finney.

Democracy Live has been used by the U.S. Department of Defense to help members of the military serving overseas vote.

“There’s no doubt that we are going to be voting on these,” says Brotherton holding up a smartphone.

His company is working toward the day when voting could take place on a smartphone, if there’s the political will do so.

“It’s not about cost, not about costs, not about efficiency, or about user experience,” says Brotherton "It’s: 'Is this going to produce more Democratic or Republican votes?’ And if you're on the wrong side of that answer, then they say, ‘Oh, someone can hack it.' "

LiveBallot is a free download for both iPhone and Android phones.

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