Manchester Evening News launches election chatbot called 'Emmeline' to encourage people to vote

The Manchester Evening News has launched an election chatbot named after suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst which aims to encourage people to vote on 8 June.

The chatbot, called Emmeline, can be accessed on the Facebook Messenger app – in the same way as the Guardian’s chatbot which launched in September last year.

Emmeline will respond to user’s questions about the previous general election in their constituency and tell them who their candidates are for 2017 as well as guiding them on the voting process.

The Trinity Mirror-owned Manchester Evening News’ (MEN) created the chatbot with Autosermo.

Paul Gallagher, digital innovations editor with Trinity Mirror Regional titles, said: “We know that journalists on regional newspapers and websites play a vital role in our democracy by informing readers about their local constituencies and election candidates.

“It has been fascinating to look how we can reach this audience via a chatbot and it’s particularly encouraging to see that Emmeline has already succeeded in helping people find out how they can register to vote.”

Steven Booth of Autosermo said: “I firmly believe that chatbots and automated messaging will define the future of digital content consumption and revolutionise customer communication with businesses.

“In this case, it’s especially rewarding to know that we’re driving registrations to vote, enhancing the democratic experience and providing a social good.”