The 2012 elections are upon us. This year, more than any other election in history, voters will have access to an unprecedented amount of information—in real time. What's more, social media will allow voters to broadcast their voting experience to their networks, and to the world.
Voting should be easy. So Emily Tavoulareas from iStrategyLabs put together all the best information gathering apps to use when you hit the polls.
Lucky for you, some brilliant democracy-loving geeks and developers got together and created useful apps to help you filter through the information deluge, and report any anti-democratic problems you may encounter at the polls.
VoterHub mobile: A free mobile app that features information like: polling place information, sample ballots, access to AP real-time election coverage, videos, candidate and local ballot initiative information, and election results. It also allows users to set up alerts for key dates and results, and enables users to share content easily. Oh, and it includes a "waiting time calculator," which is exactly what it sounds like.
- Why you should use it: Everything you need on election day will be in one place, on your mobile device.
A web app that lets you give feedback about voting locations, and connects you with resources that can help report fraud or voter intimidation.
- Why you should use it: The only way to fix a problem is to know you have one. By providing feedback about your experience, you can help make the next election even better.
A website that hilariously calls out the tired excuses we hear every four years. While not particularly informative, it's amusing, and a fun way to peer-pressure your disenchanted friends into voting.
- Why you should use it: It's funny. And peer-pressure works.
An app that connects to your Foursquare account to get information about your polling station, voter ID requirements, and the candidates and propositions that will be on your ballot. Plus, you can check www.ivotedmap.com to see America voting in real time throughout the day.
- Why you should use it: If you already use Foursquare, this is for you. Oh, and did I already say peer-pressure works?
A crazy simple website, laced with "F-bombs," that only asks for your address, and in return gives you your voting location and a break-down of your ballot along with links to candidate information. No emails. No texts. Just input your address and collect your information.
- Why you should use it: It's simple, and helps avoid any confusion around voting locations.
An app that keeps track of all your voting rules, deadlines and forms. Users register by submitting basic information (name, address, contact info). TurboVote keeps track of all the information you could possibly need, and even sends you the forms you need so all you have to do is sign them and drop them in the mail. As the TurboVote website says, "It's democracy, made awesomer."
- Why you should use it: Because you're busy, and depending on what state you live in, the paper work and requirements for voting can be confusing and cumbersome. TurboVote takes the confusion out of the process.
A web app that let's you check photo ID requirements by state, easily.
- Why you should use it: To make sure you have everything you need at the polls.
A free resource that state and local election officials can use to interact with voters via multiple social media platforms, and monitor issues as they arise. The dashboard aggregates all major social media platforms into one place, and allows users to respond directly to voters quickly and without multiple applications.
- Why you should use it: It gives you access to the "wisdom of the crowd," and allows you to interact directly with people reporting issues. If you're an election official, volunteering, monitoring polling locations, or just a curious and concerned citizen, this resource enables you to keep a pulse on the democratic process.
An app that allows users to crowdsource problems and challenges at the polls on election day. When a voter uses PollWatchUSA to report a problem, it is mapped on our website and reported to the relevant election administration.
- Why you should use it: Because you believe in fair elections, and know that the only way for problems to be solved is for people to be aware of them.
And in case you have any trouble at the polls, please report it via one of these sites.
PS: We've also created a Googledoc to crowdsource citizen's favorite apps from the 2012 election. Feel free to contribute here.
Emily Tavoulareas is the Creative Strategist for iStrategyLabs.
iStrategyLabs blog brings you the best of emerging technology and marketing. Developers, designers, and strategists give you the scoop on what you need to know in the world of digital and mobile technology.