The Crowd and the Election

There are numerous ways that one can participate in and pay tribute to the electoral process, but what’s really nice is how many of the keyholders seem to be involving the crowd in this current election.

For example, the National Journal recently made a call for better questions for the presidential debates. Among the numerous submissions were questions about veteran suicide, the war on terror, and climate change, but also complex personal questions about the candidates’ own flawed ideologies and the ethics of serving multiple stakeholders in their past. It would be interesting if some of these questions actually came into play. What would you ask?

Or how about President Obama’s Reddit interview with the crowd last month? President Obama took a short forty minutes to answer questions (ten) from the crowd during an Ask Me Anything series. The questions addressed things from work-life balance to space exploration.

Or how about individuals who have been using GoFundMe to make their trips to the DNC and RNC possible? In this way, the crowd is not only making campaign fundraising easier for candidates, it’s making it easier for individuals to participate as well.

A paper on the subject of crowd-based election monitoring by Max Grömping makes a number of points that criticize crowd participation, but one of Max’s principle findings is as follows: “the added value of crowdsourcing lies mainly in the strengthening of civil society via a widened public sphere and the accumulation of social capital.”

Engagement is still a key part of government processes and ease of crowdsourcing is one of the best ways to keep citizens involved, which means that I think we can expect to see it continue to play a larger role as we move forward – in spite of criticisms that it may receive. That’s why IdeaScale is committed to citizen engagement, because we think it will continue to play a key role in the democratic process.

How would you engage the crowd in the election? How will we see the crowd involved in the future?

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Andrew Krzmarzick

I’d be polling people pretty regularly on Facebook and Twitter. What do you think about x topic? I would then incorporate feedback into stump speeches and campaign blog posts / releases to show that we’re listening and that our platform is informed by their contributions.