Elections and domain names? What is the connection?

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While there does not seem to be a direct link between an Internet domain name and the democratic election process, the importance of domain names becomes critical when you consider the role of the Internet in modern elections.

This is especially important in 2015, as the electoral calendar for Latin America and the Caribbean shows upcoming elections in 17 countries in the region, including three very important presidential elections in Guatemala, Argentina and Haiti.

A well-informed electorate is the key to a good democracy. Today, most voters seek election information on the Internet, so it is important that this information be easy to find. Every candidate now has at least one website to promote their campaign and proposals to the voters. However, in many domains, anyone can register any name (including their opponents names), resulting in misleading information about candidates and confusion among voters.  This has gotten worse in the last few years, resulting in so many negative and misleading messages from unidentified sources that voters are becoming disgusted with the entire process.

To provide a solution to this problem, the new top-level domains .VOTE (dot VOTE) and its Spanish/Portuguese counterpart .VOTO (dot VOTO) have been created.

.VOTE and .VOTO are special Web addresses dedicated to the political space/democratic process which operate under policies designed to deliver protection to the candidates and citizens alike. Both TLDs have a strict policy that prohibits registration of disparaging or misleading names. The registration policy also requires a clear and demonstrable link between the domain name and the political/democratic activities of the registrant. Anonymous registrations (called “proxy”) are specifically prohibited in .VOTE and .VOTO, so the real owner of the name can be readily identified. And finally .VOTE/ .VOTO names that violate these policies can be identified, investigated and dealt with quickly.

Importantly, governments can also benefit by using .VOTE and .VOTO domain names for official voter information (e.g. voting times, locations, eligibility, registration, etc). Many governments around the world currently offer this critical information via a blizzard of confusing and often too-long Web addresses that are very hard for voters to remember. For example, the Arizona state government in the U.S. has a pretty complicated web address for their voter site: http://www.azsos.gov/elections/voting-election. Recently they launched a brand new web address www.Arizona.vote which is so much easier to remember and will help voters participate more fully and effectively in the democratic process.

VOTE / .VOTO were only launched earlier in the year and are already seeing traction. In addition to the elections noted above, the U.S. 2016 presidential election is rapidly approaching, and many candidates already have their .VOTE/.VOTO sites live, such as TedCruz.vote , TedCruz.voto , CarlyFiorina.vote, and CarlyFiorina.voto. And in addition to the state of Arizona referenced earlier, it is expected that more government entities worldwide will soon get their .VOTE/.VOTO domain names.

For more information about .VOTE and .VOTO, please visit: www.get.vote and www.get.voto.
You can follow .VOTE / .VOTO on social networks:
Facebook: Dot VOTE & Dot VOTO
Twitter: @dotVOTE

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