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votereport.pngSadly, in recent American elections, many people arrived at the polls to find broken machines, outrageously long lines, incorrect records, even dress codes that kept them from voting. This Election Day, we’ll know about voter suppression in real time, while something can still be done about it.
On November 4th, the Twitter social network and a small army of citizens and activist organizations will join a coalition of organizations in a citizen-driven, groundbreaking real-time watchdog called Twitter Vote Report. It will allow tens of thousands of citizens to identify issues as they happen, 140 characters at a time, map them, and call for immediate action.
A National Crowdsourcing Effort
Rather than leaving voter protection to lawyers, or worse yet, political operatives, Twitter Vote Report will let thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of citizens really rock the vote, by reporting in real time, on their experiences at the polls. The Twitter Vote Report coalition will then identify and call for solutions to voting problems in real time.
tweetie.pngHow long is the wait in Cleveland, Ohio? Are the new optical scan machines staying up and running in Palm Beach County, Florida? Is failure to bring ID to the polls thwarting first-time voters in Indianapolis? With Twitter Vote Report, we’ll know the answers to those questions straight from voters from all over the country.
Volunteer programmers, designers and activists across the country held giant online and real world coding parties were held nationwide to build Twitter Vote Report in under a month.
How to Participate
Anyone with a account will be able to use their cell phones or computers to send a message notifying voters, election monitors, and the media of problems around the country. A web map will display incidents in real-time.
Voters reporting on Twitter will include the code, or hashtag, #votereport on Election Day to report on problems they experience while trying to vote – or to say everything went well.
Voters can also send a message to Twitter Vote Report by:
* Sending a text message to 66937 beginning with #votereport
* Calling to (567) 258-8683 (258-VOTE) to leave a message by touch tone keypad
* Downloading the Twitter Vote Report iPhone application
A wide range of organizations are participating in the Twitter Vote Report project including the Election Protection Coalition, Rock the Vote, Credo Mobile, Common Cause, Plodt, YouTube, Twittervision, NPR’s Social Media Desk, Independence Year Foundation, The Center for Community Change, Student PIRGs, PBS, Video the Vote, Election Suppression Wiki, Women Donors Network, and Demos. In addition, Current TV will be using the #votereport information as part of their special election coverage throughout the day.
Andrew Rasiej, founder of techPresident, said, “Power and control is shifting from politicians and campaigns to people and we’ll be able to see that in real-time on Election Day.”
Twitter Vote Report was inspired by a techPresident blog post on October 6th proposing the use of Twitter for election monitoring. In less than a month, volunteers across the country, with no other resources than their know-how and volunteer time, built Twitter Vote Report to stream individual messages from Twitter and aggregate them into maps and graphs.
Now we just have to hope the Fail Whale, which signifies a Twitter crash, stays home on Election Day.
Hat tip to Sanford Dickert