The new .vote domain name offers individuals and groups the opportunity to use online forums, email, blogs, social networks, and other online channels to petition government entities at all levels for action on pressing public issues.
The .vote domain name also enables online election reminders and registration information.
The .vote domain name is not intended solely for electoral candidates, political parties, politicians, or elected officials. Rather, it creates a platform for all citizens to petition their government representatives at the Federal, state, and local levels.
Why does this matter?
By providing individuals with another means of expressing themselves on matters of public concern, society as a whole will be better informed about the issues they care about most.
A more educated citizenry benefits everyone because more people can find opportunities to engage in decision-making processes that affect them.
And once people are engaged in these processes via technology tools like social networks and mobile apps (and even using the phone itself), the potential exists for increased efficiency and effectiveness.
The .vote domain names offer a fresh approach to enhancing engagement in the democratic process.
Who is behind the .vote domain name?
The .vote domain name is sponsored by the multistakeholder community. It is managed by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which governs all domain names.
Governments, civic organizations, policymakers, media companies, the technology industry, consumer advocacy groups, and others are participating in .vote.
What does this mean?
Governments are overseeing the process, but are not directing it.
As part of their role in making sure the launch of new domain names is successful, governments around the world have mandated that there be community-based sponsorship for all new top-level domains (TLDs).
Individuals from all over the world have been seeking to bring increased democracy into how societies govern themselves through technology tools such as online petitions, social media, and mobile apps.
The launch of .vote is an important step toward ensuring that people everywhere can exercise their rights in this way and that governments at all levels can take advantage of these technological advancements —and still preserve the integrity of their electoral systems.
How does a domain name help with this?
A domain name is an online address that leads people to a website.
The .vote domain names will allow citizens to identify themselves in the context of specific public policy issues, topics, or events; share their opinions; and take other actions (such as signing petitions) related to these matters.
An Internet address with a .vote extension can create a platform for individuals to petition their government representatives, receive election reminders and registration information, learn about the issues they care about most from online forums, blogs, social networks—and even via email when running for office or voting in elections.
Who can register .vote domain names?
Anyone who wants to advocate for social change, educate their community about an election or ballot initiative, or facilitate online voter registration.
Political parties, corporations, organizations, nonprofits, and individuals will all be able to use the .vote domain name space in ways that are meaningful to them.