West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office harnesses power of voice assistant technology


CHARLESTON — The West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office has added a new customer service tool to its toolbox and joined a growing number of government agencies using Amazon’s Alexa to provide constituents with quick information about the office.

Alexa is a cloud-based voice service available on more than 100 million devices from Amazon and third-party device manufacturers, and the numerous skills enable users to perform everyday tasks or engage with content naturally with voice. The new custom skill for the smart speaker is named West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office and enables users to get answers to questions such as, “Who is my county clerk?,” “What is the fee to file a Limited Liability Company?” or “How do I register to vote?”

“We strive to be a leader when it comes to using new technology to communicate with our constituents and make it easier to interact with our office,” said Secretary of State Mac Warner. “Our new custom Alexa skill enables you to get answers to the most commonly asked questions about our office and the services we provide wherever you are using the most natural user interface in the world: the voice.”

The new skill is public and can be easily accessed from any device that supports the platform once it is enabled for an account. To enable the skill, the user says, “Alexa, enable West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office." To access the skill after it is enabled, the user says, "Alexa, launch West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office." The skill also provides for a single question and answer response with the ask command when the user says, “Alexa, ask West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office ‘How do I register to vote?’”

This new service is the latest part of a substantial effort by the West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office to implement state-of-the-art technology for the benefit of the general public. 

This initial release of the custom skill focused on general information and frequently asked questions. Planning is currently underway for the next release which will be more interactive and support complex questions and lookups with back and forth dialogue for questions like “Where is my voting precinct?,” “What presidential election had the highest voter turnout?” and “How many businesses are registered in West Virginia?” 

“We’ve barely scratched the surface with voice assistant technology, and we have more exciting functionality in the works,” Warner said. “Our new, custom skill is another example of our ongoing efforts to provide the very best possible service for our citizens and constituents.”

The new, custom Alexa skill was developed at no cost to West Virginia taxpayers and was created by the West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office in partnership with WV.gov.

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