Sprinkle Seeks FEC Approval for Internet-Based Voter Turnout Platform
WASHINGTON — The internet platform Sprinkle sought an advisory opinion Friday from the Federal Election Commission on its business plan to boost young voter turnout by making it easier to connect with candidates who align with their values.
Voter turnout in the 2020 election for ages 18-24 clocked in at 51.4%, compared with 76% for those aged 65-74.
“Sprinkle is an internet platform that seeks to make it easier for people to find and support candidates that align with their interests, policy views, and values,” David Lazarus, the counsel to Sprinkle, wrote in his letter to the FEC.
The internet platform submitted an advisory opinion request on Friday to the FEC’s Office of General Counsel seeking “confirmation of the permissibility of its business plan under the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971” and the FEC regulations.
A common complaint from younger generations about elected officials is their willingness to prioritize concerns of older voters, rather than younger ones. This comes as no surprise considering the median age of the 117th Congress is 59 years old, compared with the median age of Americans at 38 years old.
One of the issues Sprinkle would like to address is that “traditional methods of contacting voters and raising money are not in line with the way that younger voters organize, spend time, research issues, and engage on matters of interest. Nor have they kept pace with the way that younger voters use technology,” Lazarus writes.
“Sprinkle seeks to tackle both of these political economy market realities by providing an innovative, streamlined, and user-focused interface that attracts voters of all ages, with a particular focus on younger voters that might not have made extensive contributions to candidates and political committees in the past,” he added.
Sprinkle will match users with candidates with tools and public data that make it easier for voters to select who they want to follow and support. Some of these tools include selecting issues that matter most to the voter, collecting geographic criteria such as their candidate running for office in a swing state and biographical identifiers.
Sprinkle will also have a function on its platform that allows users to see how campaigns are being funded. This will allow potential voters to consider candidates based on campaign finance data.
They will have a dedicated page for each candidate running for federal office, as long as they have registered an authorized committee with the FEC.
“Candidate pages will provide useful information about the candidate’s positions on issues, biographical indicators, and other information that may be useful to users,” Lazarus writes.
Because Sprinkle is parented by Platform Venture Studio, a nonpartisan, for-profit incubator of new technology companies, it “will not restrict access to its website based on a candidate’s political affiliation,” he added.
Candidates will have the opportunity to amend and add to their pages, as long as additions don’t interfere with the quality or accuracy of the page. All candidates will be given equal opportunity to request changes to their pages.
Each candidate page on Sprinkle will have a donation option, but all contributions will be processed by the partner company Stripe.