26 Sep 2016

The popular tech blog TechCrunch reported Monday that Silicon Valley giants are so worried about the rising prospects of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump that they are scrambling to find and fund ways to encourage more people to register to vote — presumably for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

In a story titled “Tech really wants to fix this election,” TechCrunch reporter Kate Conger reports that “tech companies from Google all the way down to small startups like Sam Altman’s VotePlz, which launched a million dollar registration sweepstakes today, are trying to” boost registration.

Moreover, “although most claim to be nonpartisan,” Conger notes, “it’s clear that Donald Trump’s unusual campaign has ignited investors and pushed them to act.” She adds:

VotePlz lets people check their voter registration status online, helps them register by guiding them through the online registration process or printing and mailing the registration form in states that require registration-by-mail, and gamifies the entire process with a leaderboard that tracks how many friends have been referred by individual users.

The digital advocacy organization Fight For the Future launched a registration chatbot last week called HelloVote with backing from several tech companies, including Genius, Twilio, and Automattic. The bot lets voters register via SMS (text 384-387) or Facebook Messenger (go to in Messenger) and the entire process takes only a minute.

HelloVote, like VotePlz, isn’t just taking online registrations — for users in one of the 19 states where mail-in registration is required, HelloVote will print and mail registration forms

Some prominent Silicon Valley heavyweights are backing Hillary Clinton directly. Facebook co-founder Dustin Muskovitz, for example, recently announced that he and his wife are donating $20 million to far-left groups to help elect Clinton.

On the other side of the political divide in Silicon Valley, Conger found a grand total of one investor — namely, Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey, who backed an anti-Clinton group and now says he will vote for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson.

PayPal and Palantir founder Peter Thiel has also emerged as a strong Trump supporter, delivering a stirring address to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.