Coded Connections

How QR codes connect voters to campaigns  

Just about everyone has a smart phone.  Anyone and anything is just a text, call, or click away.  But there are ways to make these connections even faster! 

QR codes (short for Quick Response) are used to store URLs, contact information, text, images and more.  Comprised of small black and white squares, QR codes can be scanned by your smartphone and can instantly connect you with content.    

You might have seen one, but you’re not entirely sure what to do with it.  While they used to require a downloadable app to scan, they can now be scanned on iPhones (and some Androids) using the mobile’s camera function.  Users can simply hold their phone’s camera up to a QR code and the phone will automatically give users the option to open the content.  Whether you are a social media pro or a digital newbie, it’s easy enough for anyone! 

They are commonly used to store shopping coupons, track inventory, or link to company websites, but how could they be used by political campaigns? 

Politicians can use QR codes to link to central sources of information about the campaign, its policy positions, and the candidate.  And these codes are versatile!  They can effectively be placed across multiple mediums: print, television, and even digital. 


QR codes can be printed onto political direct mail, handouts, and yard signs.  These methods have been used by campaigns for decades to increase name recognition and support, but adding a QR code is a modern way to link physical signs and handouts to a digital platform.  This is the most common way that campaigns are utilizing QR codes and is a convenient way to instantly connect voters with the candidate. 


Campaign television ads can also host QR codes.  While a quick ad gives the voter a nice introduction to a candidate, a QR code can give the voter access to the entire campaign.  Every ad, video, article, or photo all in one place for the voter to engage.  Although improper usage can result in codes that are too small or not visible long enough to scan, QR codes used correctly help to widen a candidate’s reach and improve the quality of their message. 


Although QR codes work best on mobile devices, they can also be placed on campaign websites.  These are an effective way to connect voters on desktop computers with content that works better on mobile, like social media platforms or apps.  Voters can just scan the code on the computer screen with their smartphone and seamlessly continue accessing content through their mobile. 

Candidates that register with us at Source Voting receive their own QR code that can be added to printed materials, television commercials, and digital ads.  This personal QR will link voters to the candidate’s videos, Twitter and Facebook links, and quick access to the campaign website.   

When used together, QR codes can act as a cohesive connection between a candidate’s online and offline presence.  QR codes convey more information than digital ads or print ever could and offer voters a chance to deeply connect with a candidate and their message. 

So next time you see a QR code used by a candidate you support (or don’t!), try scanning it.  You might learn something new! 

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