Giving money to your favorite 2020 presidential campaigns just got much more interesting. Amazon announced Alexa Political Contributions on Wednesday, and it's a new feature that lets you contribute to your candidate of choice by simply talking to Amazon's virtual assistant. If you're already familiar with the device and want to get more involved ahead of the general election, donating to 2020 presidential campaigns with Alexa will be a piece of cake.
Alexa Political Contributions won't roll out until October, according to a blog post Amazon posted on Wednesday, so you won't be able to donate right away. But it will make it a lot more convenient to contribute to a presidential hopeful's campaign, especially if you don't feel like looking around for their website or aren't near a computer. Amazon is continuing to add Alexa features ahead of the presidential election, so even if you aren't donating, you'll still be able to ask Alexa about who's running for president, how candidates are polling, and when the next debate is. You can even ask Alexa about a candidate's stance on specific political issues. I usually ask Alexa about the weather and my Amazon orders, so having the option to engage politically with the device is a welcome change.
Here's a step-by-step guide to donating to a candidate using your Alexa device.
Update Your Default Payment Method
Amazon uses your default payment method when processing your donation, so you should make sure that you have the right information on file. The company recommends checking your one-click payment settings, and you can find it under the Ordering and Shopping Preferences menu in account settings on the Amazon app or website.
Turn On Voice Purchasing
If you haven't already turned on voice purchasing on your Alexa device, you won't be able to donate by talking to Alexa. In the Alexa app, open the menu and scroll to Settings. Then tap Alexa Account and turn on Voice Purchasing. If you're worried about this feature being exploited, you can also pick a four-digit confirmation code to ensure that no one else is able to donate using your Alexa device — you pick whether you have to say the code once or every time you try to donate or make a purchase.
Ask Alexa To Donate
According to Amazon, you'll be able to say an amount and a candidate, and Alexa does the rest. For example, you could say, "Alexa, donate $50 to Elizabeth Warren." There are a couple of restrictions: You can only donate up to $200 per candidate each election cycle, you can't give to candidates who haven't opted in to Alexa Political Contributions, and you must be older than 18 and a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. It isn't clear yet which presidential candidates are participating.
Once you've set up Alexa, the whole process is straightforward and shouldn't take more than a few seconds, which is great for anyone who likes convenience. You should read through Amazon's restrictions before you donate — you can't be a federal government contractor or give through a business or corporate account, and you have to donate at least $5. As Amazon continues to roll out election-related features, it'll probably continue to become easier to support your favorite presidential candidate.