The first mobile app uniquely designed to increase voter participation by Latino millennials
GritoBlast! — Who will decide the 2016 presidential election?
The new Unidos mobile app offers a unique approach to encouraging registration and voting by Latino millennials – a group that could be pivotal in the election’s outcome.
Unidos features an exciting mix of news and sharable media including custom emojis and videos. It’s a cutting-edge approach to engaging voters in a year when immigrants and immigration are at the center of the debate.
Unidos (available for download on iPhones) aims to break the historic pattern of lower-than-average voter turnout among Latinos and young people by speaking to them where they get their news – on their phones. Unidos features content that responds to the interests of this rapidly growing community of potential first-time voters.
Unidos was developed by Feet in 2 Worlds, an award-winning non-profit news website and public radio content producer that tells the stories of today’s immigrants to the rest of America. To create Unidos Feet in 2 Worlds brought together a team of Latino journalists with extensive experience covering national and local politics in the U.S. and Latin America. The app also reflects extensive input from young Latinos across the country who helped to come up with the Unidos name and shape the app’s many features.
Some 800,000 Latinos in the U.S. turn 18 every year. “That means since the last presidential election millions of potential new voters have reached voting age,” said Feet in 2 Worlds executive producer John Rudolph. “Our aim is to get them excited about being part of the political process, and help them understand that they really can make a difference if they register and vote.”
Unidos offers a curated feed of news from a wide range of sources in both English and Spanish. “Latinos millennials like me get virtually all of their news online, much of it on their phone,” notes Unidos managing editor Pablo Medina Uribe. “My job is to find the right mix of stories in audio, video and text that will help people become informed voters so they feel confident when they cast their ballot on Election Day.”
The Unidos news feed is just one of the app’s many features. “Anyone with a question about registering, voting or other aspects of the election process can turn to our easy-to-use guides,” said Medina Uribe. The guides include links to web sites where Unidos users can register to vote, report problems with voting, and learn how they can become more deeply involved in the election process.
“We are working closely with non-profit partners who have extensive resources to help people register and vote,” Rudolph noted. Unidos’ partners include Mi Familia Vota and LULAC (The League of United Latin American Citizens). The Unidos app complements the work that these non-profits are doing to increase Latino voter turnout by providing a stream of news content and shareable emojis. Unidos media partners include Impremedia, publisher of El Diario in New York and La Opinion in L.A., and Public News Service.
To design and develop the Unidos brand and mobile application, Feet in 2 Worlds partnered with L+R, a design research and development firm focused on user experience and creative technology.
“We wanted to be real with young Latinos and give them a product that really ‘gets it’ and resonates with their interests and concerns,” said Alex Levin, L+R co-founder and strategy director. “After John and Feet in 2 Worlds directed us to research on voter turnout and the overall lack of information available to Latino voters in prior elections, our team was excited by the opportunity to make a difference.”