Make the Election Digital

It’s a high tech political season. According to both campaigns are using digital tools to make direct contact with voters. Your inbox, your social media sites, and the apps on your smart phone may play a part in how you deal with the election.

The fight 2012
The Fight 2012: Cain and Todd Benson via photo pin cc

There are many apps and online tools that you can use to help get through election season and make a choice about your vote.

Truth Finding Apps

Several apps help you find the truth behind the statements and ads. The Super Pac App for iPhone and iPad can listen to an ad and then tell you who paid for it. The Super Pac App was created by MIT Media Lab students. Ad Hawk from the Sunlight Foundation does a similar thing – listens to an ad and then tells you who is behind it and who is spending the money on the ad. Ad Hawk works on iOS and Android.

Another fact checker is PolitiFact’s Settle It!. Settle It! tells you what the real facts are behind political statements, pulling its information from the PolitiFact site.

The Washington Post has an iPad-only app. According to the app organizes a new section called The Forum,

with easily browsable Twitter lists that organize more than 300 relevant accounts into six groups: news outlets, campaigns, partisans, prominent office holders, fact checkers, and jesters (like @ColbertReport and @LOLGOP).

Candidates’ Apps

Mitt Romney had an app just to announce his VP choice. That’s old news now, but an interesting concept in a single purpose app. Perhaps there will be more from the Republicans like this.

Barack Obama’s app is Obama for America and is aimed at neighborhood get-out-the-vote organization and help. This technique worked for the Democrats in 2008 and they are sticking with it.

On the Obama web site, you can compare Obama and Romney tax cut plans to see how they would affect you. There is a description below the fold on this page about how the calculator works and where the information came from (The Tax Policy Center).

Convention and News Watching

Time Warner has a CNN-Time Convention Floor Pass that brings you convention news. It’s for both iOS and Android devices.

NBC Politics is designed to bring a steady stream of political news to your smart phone. NBC Politics is from MSNBC. Fox News also has a political news app, You Decide 2012 Map. You Decide 2012 is only for iPad. If MSNBC and Fox News don’t do it for you, you can always get the politcal news app from Politico.

If you’re into poll watching, Talking Points Media has a Poll Tracker app that tracks polls in real time.

Voter Registration and Voter ID

Rock the Vote has an online voter registration form.

The Cost of Freedom Project is tracking which states are requiring photo voter ID. You can check state by state voter ID requirements at this site.

Choosing Between the Candidates Sites

There are several sites that promise to help you identify which party you should give your vote to. The Political Party runs you through a series of questions and identifies the candidate who should get your support based on how you answer the questions. The Political Party claims to be nonpartisan and has a set of FAQs that tell how they determine how your answers align you, party-wise.

Politify shows you the impact of the two candidates avowed plans for the country on a personal, local and national level. The site uses IRS and Census data to find where household income comes from and what government services households use. The app then produces a simulation of how President Obama and Mitt Romney’s economic plans would affect specific areas of the country. You can go for a wide view, or take it down to your own zip code.

Election Watching in Other Ways

Even can resist getting into the act. According to Puget Sound Business Journal, Amazon published a “heat map” of political book sales that shows where U.S. residents are buying conservative or liberal books. I’m not sure this proves anything, but it’s interesting to examine.

Venture Beat tells us that Facebook and CNN have teamed up to create a Facebook I’m Voting app that will add more politics to your news feed. Could it be that a Facebook wall full of the politcal opinions of your friends isn’t enough for some Facebook users? Hard to imagine.

You can listen to radio shows and podcasts about the election with Stitcher. Stitcher has a special new category called Election Center that lets you choose particular candidates, commentators and sources to follow.

Whether you use these digital tools to explore both sides of the issue or support your already firmly held opinions, there’s something perfect for you in the race to November.

[Note: Cross posted at BlogHer in a slightly different form.]

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