Amazon Updates Alexa With Election Information, Donations

Amazon has updated their voice assistant Alexa with current information about the 2020 presidential election and candidates. The information is sourced from hundreds of different outlets, including nonpartisan organizations, to educate Alexa users on ballots, pools, and more. Amazon has chosen to make Alexa non-partisan itself, only providing objective information on the election, candidates and policies, according to a blog post from Amazon written by the Day One Staff. The staff continued,

“When it comes to news, Alexa is a conduit, not a news creator. Whenever possible we let you choose which news providers you prefer to watch, listen to, and get live updates from.”

The update also allows users to make campaign contributions via Alexa. Any candidate can sign up to receive contributions through Alexa. Contributions can be up to $200 and are powered by Amazon Pay using the payment information from users’ Amazon accounts.

Amazon has updated Alexa with election information
Amazon has updated Alexa with election information

To utilize this update, users can say to Alexa:

  • Alexa, when is the Iowa caucus?
  • Alexa, when is the next debate?
  • Alexa how does Bernie Sanders stand on Education?
  • Alexa, how is Elizabeth Warren polling?
  • Alexa, who is running for president?

Amazon Updated After 2018 Midterm Elections

About a year ago during the 2018 midterm elections, Amazon updated Alexa with relevant election information, as there were a rise in customer engagement with the 2016 presidential election. The update focused on voting, real-time election results as well as post-election outcomes.

With the amount of fake news that surrounded the 2016 election, Amazon assembled a “war room” of engineers, writers and data scientists to make sure that Alexa was providing only accurate and objective information. They partnered with the Associated Press, a non-profit independent news cooperative, along with Ballotpedia, a nonpartisan encyclopedia of American politics. However, Amazon has avoided updating Alexa with voter ID laws or which voting machines will be used in different areas, as the company claims fewer users are asking these questions.

Aliza Vigderman

Aliza Vigderman

Aliza is a journalist living in Brooklyn, New York. Throughout her career, her work has spanned many intersections within the tech industry. At SquareFoot, a New York-based real estate technology company, she wrote about the ways in which technology has changed the real estate industry, as well as the challenges that business owners face when they want to invest in property. At Degreed.com, an education technology website, Aliza created digital content for lifelong learners, exploring the ways in which technology has democratized education. Additionally, she has written articles for The Huffington Post as well as her own content on Medium, the online publishing platform. Aliza’s love of journalism and research stems from the excellent Journalism program at Brandeis University. At Brandeis, Aliza interned as a research assistant at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism, a non-profit “news room without walls”. There, Aliza was paired with an investigative journalist and used academic databases to obtain data on everything from the suicide rates in Bhutan to local Boston court cases. Her last position was as an account executive at Yelp, educating business owners on the power of technology to increase revenue. Throughout, however, her heart remained with tech journalism, and she’s thrilled to be writing for Security Baron. When she’s not keeping afloat of the latest tech trends, Aliza likes to cook, read, and write. A former high school “Class Clown,” Aliza has completed two feature-length screenplays, a pilot, and countless comedic sketches. On her days off you can find her relaxing in Prospect Park, trying the latest flavors at Ample Hills Ice Cream, and spending time with friends and family.

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