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Three Hot New Social Apps For Election 2012

Stan Freck (Park City, UT) —

Everyone knows that the 2008 Obama/Biden campaign for President of the United States made sophisticated use of Twitter, Facebook, and other social media, not to mention creatively tapping into America’s young voters in other innovative ways. But if you thought technology in the 2008 presidential race was a big deal, wait until you see what’s gearing up for 2012. Here’s some of the best new apps and hacks.

The social media-fueled grassroots campaigns that helped propel Barack Obama to the White House four years ago galvanized political activists across the spectrum. Since then, technology that helps government and campaigns reach constituents has evolved a great deal, as have tools that help voters share information about candidates. And it’s gone beyond social media, into new products and services which are leveraging mobile apps, cloud computing, data analytics, and more.

Voting Social: This app helps you get better, quicker information about candidates for public office. Voters on Facebook and Twitter can sign up for the VotingSocial app, which provides timely and accurate information about candidates’ records. Built by EastBanc Technologies, the app also provides information about voting dates and locations and the opportunity for users to support their candidates.

Campaign Cloud: How can campaigns of any size or shape take better advantage of the power of cloud computing? ElectionMall Technologies’ Campaign Cloud provides organizations with unified tools for soup-to-nuts campaign management and issue advocacy. My colleague Kim Nelson and I recently had a chance to chat with Richard Walker of AOL Government about the solution, which allows candidates and their campaigns to:

• manage all their applications and information in one place with one login: email, data and content from multiple sources, including social networks
• coordinate and collaborate through built-in productivity and collaboration tools
• integrate specific Election Mall tools for fundraising, managing multiple websites, and campaign management
• integrate all their campaign content and augment it with data analytics, Bing Maps for Enterprise and other tools

Live Ballot: Governments also have a critical role to play in the campaigns and elections process, and technology is relevant here, too. New tech can help to meet statutory requirements and voter needs, while reducing the costs of administering elections. One of the most prominent examples is LiveBallot, a cloud-based service created by Democracy Live, a company that provides e-balloting products and services. LiveBallot enables absentee voters to securely access their ballots from anywhere in the world.

I am proud to say that Microsoft has been a partner in creating all three of these services, each of which is hosted and delivered via our Windows Azure cloud platform and leverages other Microsoft products and services as well. Our company’s public sector division is committed to helping voters and organizations across the political spectrum engage people where they increasingly spend their time: online. By helping people gather, analyze and share election-related content in new ways, we aim to improve the election process to better support democracy and the needs of constituents.

Stan Freck is part of the Microsoft Office of Civic Innovation, with headquarters in Washington DC. An earlier version of this article appeared on the FutureFed blog.

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Corey McCarren

It’s always great to see innovative solutions to absentee voting, etc. Are any states currently planning to use any such services?