From September 19, 2019, users of Amazon Alexa devices will be able to make campaign donations to the 2020 presidential candidates, or at least on those devices whom Amazon deems eligible to set up an account. If a campaign select to sign up for Alexa donations, then the users will be able to donate to it by just saying , “Alexa, I want to make a political contribution,” or “Alexa, donate [amount] to [candidate name].”
All the payments will be processed through Amazon Pay and the users will receive email receipts for their contributions as well. The strange part is that the feature is available only to 2020 presidential candidates that Amazon defines as “principal campaign committees”. But it is not clear as to who Amazon considers as “principal” and for what reasons. The company itself declined to comment on what exactly constitutes a “principal candidate.
The eligible candidates who select to sign up must have a US based street address, a credit card associated with a US street address, a US based bank account, and a US based phone number. All the above conditions make sense as Amazon should not be allowing any foreign entities to receive donations on behalf of the US presidential candidates as it is illegal.
In order to sign up, the candidates have to register their merchants , send a handful of variations of the candidate’s name and submit some Federal Election Commission forms that document their candidacy. For instance Bernie Sanders , a 2020 presidential candidate also goes by the name Bernie or his official title Sen Sanders.
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