October 28, 2008

Avoid Issues at the Polls With Twitter Vote Report

By Jesse Stay of Stay N' Alive (Twitter/FriendFeed)

On Wednesday, a new site is set to debut, hoping to help ensure everyone's vote gets heard on election day. Twitter Vote Report is a volunteer effort which will allow anyone at the polls report problems they may have while voting, by using tools including Twitter, text messaging, or their iPhones. The site was inspired by a TechPresident post citing the benefits of using Twitter for election day voting problems. A collection of blog posts ensued, resulting in a collaborated effort between software developers, designers, and marketers to make it easy for you to report any problems on Election day.

The concept is simple. To report how your voting experience went on election day, prefix your experience with the hashtag, #votereport. Have a serious issue? Use the following hashtags:
  • #EP{two-letter state code} - e.g. EPNY for New York, EPOH for Ohio (for serious legal issues only)
  • #machine - use this tag to signal a problem with a voting machine
  • #registration - use this tag to signal problems with the registration process, people being turned away for paperwok reasons
  • #wait:time - use this tag to signal a long wait. Add a colon and the wait time in minutes - e.g. #wait:30 for half an hour, #wait:120 for two hours
A team of volunteers will be monitoring all reported codes and reporting noted patterns to the appropriate channels. At the same time, going to http://twittervotereport.com on election day will enable you to see the wait times at the poll locations near you, problems users are having around the nation, and perhaps you could even help a fellow citizen with a question. According to their Wiki:
Imagine a nationwide web map with pins identifying every zip code where Americans are waiting over 30 minutes to vote or indicating those election districts where the voting machines are not working. Collectively we will inform each other when when the lines too long and ensure that media and watchdog groups know where problems exist.
Twitter Vote report is partnering with partners such as 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.

You can also update your voting situation via an iPhone app that will soon be available via the iTunes app store, by sending a text message to 66937, calling (567) 258-8683 (258-VOTE) (to leave a message), or to talk to a human you can call their partner at (866) OUR-VOTE. It's not too late if your business would also like to get involved - see their Wiki for details.

Twitter Vote Report is an incredible use of social media for the use of ensuring that everyone gets their vote out on election day. Services like Twitter give everyone a voice, and this election season that voice can actually be heard. Let's look forward to a record-setting election season as we use these tools to be sure everyone's vote is accounted for.

Hat tip to Myrna the Minx for sharing this with us!

Read more by Jesse Stay at Stay N' Alive.