The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation

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Angelo Greco at (917) 499-2688  angelo@trillmulticultural.com

Apr 11, 2012

Cost of Freedom Voter ID App Launched

WASHINGTON, DC – April 5, 2012 – Today the Cost of Freedom Project announced the launch of the Cost of Freedom App to help voters get ready for the November election. Voters can text “Voter ID” or their state abbreviation to find out whether they need to show government-issued photo ID in order to vote.

Since 2008, there has been a wave of new laws that block access to the ballot box. The Brennan Center for Justice estimates five million eligible voters could be disenfranchised by the voting law changes. The most onerous restriction requires voters to present an official photo ID in order to vote. The new requirements have left voters scrambling to produce the documents they need to obtain a “free” photo ID or guessing whether their ID will be accepted at the polls.

“The Cost of Freedom App provides information on photo ID requirements for all 50 states and the District of Columbia,” said Faye M. Anderson, Chief Evangelist for the Cost of Freedom Project. “Election Day is less than seven months away. It’s not enough to take a stand against voter suppression. We must help voters get ready. The Cost of Freedom App jump starts the application process for voters who lack an official photo ID.”

Anderson added: “There is widespread confusion about acceptable forms of ID. Pennsylvania, the most recent state added to the Election Protection Coalition’s Map of Shame, has the third largest student population in the nation. Yet most student IDs will not be accepted because they do not have expiration dates. The Cost of Freedom App empowers students with information to ensure their voices are heard.”

Voters in strict photo ID states can text “Voter ID” to:

  • Georgia: 404-418-6500
  • Indiana: 317-474-6605
  • Kansas: 785-246-5777
  • Pennsylvania: 215-352-5405
  • Tennessee: 615-338-7353
  • Wisconsin: 608-729-7020

Voters in non-photo ID states can text their state abbreviation to 202-609-7909.

Callers in, for example, Ohio will receive this message: No photo ID required. To check your voter registration and polling place location, visit http://bit.ly/OHVoter or call 1-866-OUR-VOTE.

Black Youth Vote, a signature program of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, has partnered with the Cost of Freedom Project. BYV will promote the Cost of Freedom App through their website, social media and traditional voter education materials.

“Voter ID is a priority issue for young voters because we are disproportionately impacted,” said Illai Kenney, Black Youth Vote Fellow. “In Wisconsin, for instance, 78 percent of black men and 66 percent of black women between the ages of 18 and 24 do not have a driver’s license. For us, it’s about having our voices heard. It’s about our future.”

“We are not acquiescing to voter suppression,” said William Kellibrew IV, Deputy Director of The National Coalition. “Instead, we are fighting back against the attack on our voting rights wherever they are being attacked. That means we must continue to educate voters about the acceptable forms of ID. While we push back against these unjust laws at the Justice Department and in the courts, we must help voters obtain a voter ID. We can’t wait until September to get ready. By then, it will be too late. The app is an excellent tool in our arsenal to reach out to the youth.”

The Cost of Freedom App is powered by Twilio. It was developed by Jack Aboutboul, API Evangelist at Twilio. Aboutboul said: “As a sponsor of civic hackathons across the country, Twilio is committed to supporting ‘doers doing good.’ The Cost of Freedom App will help citizens exercise a fundamental right of our democracy.”

About Cost of Freedom Project: The Cost of Freedom Project stems from the Random Hacks of Kindness hackathon at Drexel University. The citizen-led initiative also is developing a web-based app to provide county-level information on how to get a voter ID. The alpha version of the web-based Cost of Freedom App will be launched in late April. For more information, visit Facebook.com/CostofFreedom.

About Black Youth Vote: Launched on April 4, 1996, Black Youth Vote is a national grassroots coalition of organizations and individuals committed to increasing civic engagement among black youth and young adults between the ages of 18 and 35. BYV identifies campus and community-based organizations and engages their youth leaders to foster civic engagement, including issue education, voter registration and voter protection. For more information, visit www.ncbcp.org/programs/byv.

About Twilio: Twilio, Inc. is a cloud communications company based in San Francisco. Twilio is a web-service API that lets software developers use existing web languages and skills to build voice and SMS applications. For more information, visit www.twilio.com.

Media contacts: Faye Anderson Cost of Freedom Project 718-369-6059 costoffreedomproject@gmail.com @andersonatlarge

Michael Selvidge Twilio 415-350-3091 michael@twilio.com @selviano

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