Apps and Websites Aimed at Voters

BlogHer Original Post

It's a high-tech political season. According to Journalism.org 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

Use the many apps and online tools available this election to help get you through the 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 Poynter.org 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, Obama for America, 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), but it is on the Obama site.

Convention and News Watching

Time Warner has a CNN-Time Convention Floor Pass that brings you convention news and events. It's for both iOS (iPhone, iPad) and Android devices.

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

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

The conventions have their own apps: Tampa 2012 and DNC2012.

Voter Registration and Voter ID

Rock the Vote has an online voter registration form.

You can check state-by-state voter ID requirements at the Cost of Freedom Project site; several states have changed their photo voter ID requirements since 2008.

Choosing-Between-the-Candidates Sites

Several sites 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 also claims to show you the impact of the two candidates avowed plans for the country on a personal, local, and national level.

Election-Watching in Other Ways

YouTube has launched a politics channel which will livestream video from the conference and rounds up news, humor, and community video posted about the 2012 election.

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 political 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.

Even Amazon.com 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.

Virginia DeBolt, BlogHer Section Editor for Tech
virginia.debolt@blogher.com
Virginia blogs at Web Teacher and First 50 Words.

Recent Posts by Virginia DeBolt

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