The midterms are taking place next week, November 6. It's not typically a big election year for many States, because these are typically just Congressional seats and State Senate seats, though there are a lot of governor and mayor's seats up for re-election right now across the US. And politicians will still say that it is the most important election ever, which is something that is said each election year. This time around, Alexa is going to be able to keep you in the know of what's going on, during Election day as well as the outcome after the Election Day.
Now, Alexa is able to tell you when voter deadlines are (which have passed already), as well as when you can vote early. There are 37 States currently that allow people to vote early, in case you don't have time on Election Day to get to the polls. Alexa can also let you know who is on the ballot including which offices you will be voting for on your ballot. This is all done according to the address that you have on file in the Alexa app. Because Alexa knows where you live, it can easily bring up the ballot for your town or city. After the polls close on Tuesday, Alexa is also able to tell you who won, as well as how many seats each party gained and who will be the majority in the House of Representatives and the Senate. Alexa is going to be getting real-time data about the election from the Associated Press. So you can ask Alexa "Who is winning in California?" or see how a particular candidate is doing in real-time by asking "Alexa, how is Elizabeth Warren doing in the election?"
While you can get voice responses from Alexa as usual, you can also get a visual response from Alexa on an Echo Show or Echo Spot. This is a use-case where having a smart display can really come in handy, as Alexa is able to show you a graphic of how the midterms are going. Including how many precincts are reporting, and which races have been called already. Of course, you can still get that information via voice, but having a visual of this makes it much easier.
Background: This year's election is a pretty important one. Now politicians do say that every single election year, but that doesn't make it any less true. If you are not happy with how things are going in the country, this is your time to speak up and vote for who you think will make a difference. If you're tired of Republicans running this country and think that President Trump needs some checks on his balance of power in the Oval Office, then this is when you can do that. It's really no different than when Obama or Bush were President, you need to vote for people that are going to represent you. Whether that's a republican, a democrat or an independent like Bernie Sanders. In the presidential election back in 2016, only about 58-percent of eligible voters voted. And a large number of those that voted in 2008 and 2012, did not even vote in 2016. Which is why it is important to vote in these elections.
Many will say that this is "only midterms", but it's still important. Every single seat in the House of Representatives is up for re-election, and a huge number of seats are up for re-election in the Senate as well. Not to mention the over 30 gubernatorial races that are happening, as well as State Legislature seats that are also up for re-election. So this election can really change the landscape of politics in the US. So if you are wanting change, now is the time to make sure you work for that change. And it only takes a few minutes to run to your polling place and vote, even if there is a long line, it usually moves pretty fast. It's important to remember that as long as you are in line before the polling place closes (which is typically 8pm), you will be able to vote. So it's okay to go vote after work if you need too.
Impact: Amazon and Google have been working pretty hard to get their personal assistants to work better with election coverage and such. For the 2016 election, Google Assistant wasn't really available. It was exclusive to the Pixel that had just launched a couple of weeks earlier. But they are going to become some pretty useful tools for those that do want to keep up with the election, but don't want to watch CNN all-night with their "breaking news" bumpers all the time. Being able to get this information from the Associated Press is a big deal for Amazon, as users are able to trust the Associated Press, and not think that it is biased. Though Alexa is not is not providing any commentary with the election, just straight up facts about who is winning the race, which is a good thing here.
Being able to simply ask "Alexa, what's my election update?" is pretty impressive, and an easy way to keep up with what's going on with the midterm elections next week. You can also ask Alexa how many seats each party has picked up. Many are hoping to see the Democrats pick up a large number of seats, which is typically what happens in the midterms. The party of the President usually loses out in the midterms and relinquishes control to the other party, which makes it tougher for the President to get his agenda through (especially this one). That doesn't mean it's a done deal. But we will find out on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. For those that are looking to keep track of a particular candidate, you can always ask Alexa how that particular candidate is doing, which is pretty cool. And if you don't have Amazon Alexa in your home via an Echo or a third-party speaker, then you'll have to resort to just Google-ing for the information, unfortunately.