Kids, it's time to look inside your smart phones and see what Halloween goodies you've been given this year. It turns out that non-partisan and progressive groups and the Obama campaign have been busy making super-smart, super-cool new software that can help turn each of you into walking, talking, election information centers.
Interested in apps that help you register your uncle to vote? Interested in polling locations? Campaign materials? Smart, easy canvassing opportunities? It's all right below the fold.
Election Protection App
"Fighting Voter Suppression? There's an App for that."
An app to fight voter suppression?? YES.
With this web app, you can verify your registration, register to vote, look up your polling place, check key voting rules and regulations, and report problems that may be occurring, all on your iPad or smartphone. Pretty cool, right!?
The app is a product of the group Election Protection, whose website (www.866ourvote.org) is also a pretty neat site if you're interested in learning about voter suppression and, moreover, fighting it. Who are they? Well, they're a nonpartisan coalition of groups including Common Cause, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the ACLU, the American Bar Association, AFL-CIO, the Sierra Club, Credo Mobile, Color of Change, etc., etc., etc., ad nauseum.
In other words, it's a bunch of the good guys, out to make change.
Check it out (Note, it is a web app and you will have to download from the website.):
Obama for America App
"Team Obama is giving its supporters, volunteers and voters a digital push."
Who combines technology and GOTV better than Team Obama? Trick question, the answer is NOBODY.
This app comes straight from HQ. WIRED has a writeup about it. In short, you can find events and volunteering opportunities, get campaign information, share your tweets, and get information on how Obama has affected your specific state.
But perhaps the coolest feature is the canvassing feature, which allows you to get your canvassing scripts, download a full map of houses to visit, and report on responses ... all without ever having to so much as look at a field office or touch a clipboard. Now, if you're like me and you enjoy your cheap coffee and doughnuts, you may want to forego the technology and get face to face with your local campaign staff, but at least now you've got a choice!
VoterHub Mobile App
“Being Online is Not Enough”
The Voting Information Project (VIP) is an effort started by the Pew Effort on the States, together with help from Google, Microsoft, AT&T, Foursquare, Facebook, and state elections offices, to "bring official voting information ... directly to voters via the Internet."
Their VoterHub Mobile App is a one-stop shop for all the non-partisan information a voter needs to learn how to register, where to vote, what they're voting on, and what the election results are ... all based on your zip code.
It's still early in the age of online voting assistance software, and each of these apps has its own limitations. Still, I suggest that you try one or more of these out, and report back on your experience. If you like what you see, please spread the word: every edge we can get counts, and software like these have a good chance of growing into a tool that can slice through attempts to confuse or intimidate potential Democratic voters out of voting. We're talking about potentially saving or turning out 100's of thousands of votes nationwide ... in addition to making your own voting experience easier and more secure.