The Democratic National Committee (DNC) is the national organization supporting the US Democratic Party, running nationwide election campaigns and advocating for legislation important to the party's platform. The DNC also runs Organize for America (OFA), the movement started by Barack Obama after the 2008 presidential election to advance Democratic causes in communities across the country. In addition to their party responsibilities, the DNC also fights for protecting democratic rights, such as the freedom to vote, for all Americans.
In 2008, the DNC's web development team re-invented the political campaign in the Internet age, realizing the full potential of the web to organize passionate citizens, collecting contributions from an unprecedented number of Americans, and involve citizens in the political process like never before. "Running political campaigns is a nimble, agile endeavor," said Josh Hendler, Director of Technology for the DNC. "With Twilio, we can leverage our web development team and existing code to power telecom apps, instead of relying on legacy vendors."
For years, the DNC has operated the national Voter Protection Hotline at 800-311-VOTE. The nationally publicized hotline gives citizens a means to report suspected vote suppression and poll fraud across the country. Yet the systems behind the hotline have been plagued with issues and enormous expenses. "In the 2006 election, we spent hundreds of thousands of dollars, and the hotline experienced scaling issues all day," said Hendler. In 2010, he got similar quotes from their legacy vendors.
So instead of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars and dealing with headaches, he turned to Twilio to power 800-311-VOTE. His web development team built the IVR functionality in just a matter of days. The hotline connected callers nationwide with state representatives to record and document the polling-place issues. "On election day, the hotline performed perfectly," said Hendler. "And we spent literally an order of magnitude less than in previous years, and it scaled perfectly." During the peak of election day 2010, the hotline was handling hundreds calls per minute, with many calls lasting 30 minutes or more. The hotline scaled to meet the demand, and the DNC spent an order of magnitude less in 2010 than in previous years. "Historically we've had so many problems with IVR systems at capacity," said Hendler. "Having something we didn't have to worry about made life substantially easier for us."