Voter turn-out for mid-term elections normally - well - how should I put this… suck! Where the 2008 national election turnout came in at 56.8 percent, the mid-terms in 2002 and 2006 averaged less than 38 percent. Why is this the case? It appears that as much as Americans are displeased with the state of the union, they throw in the towel during the mid-terms. In hopes of turning this paradigm around, the Democrats in California have come up with an app for that.
National Election Turnout Stats: 1990-2008
The application was made possible by funding from Chris Kelly, Facebook's former chief privacy officer who lost last June's Democratic primary for the state attorney general. Called 'Friend Out The Vote,' it's designed to rifle through a user's friends list on Facebook and match it with the friend's party registrations and affiliations. Then it cross-references and develops a new list of people who voted Democratic but aren't known to vote regularly.
Who would have "thunk" there was enough of this type of data to make a difference? But that appears to be the case, as the Web site invites you to "see which of your Facebook Friends are in that critical voter group."
Once you have the working list, you can become an activist and give those friends a friendly nudge to get off their apathetic behinds, and vote in this election!
“This first of its kind Facebook app is but one tool in our GOTV (get out the vote) arsenal,” said Tenoch Flores, communications director for the California Democratic Party. "In the same way that we’re walking neighborhoods and knocking on Democratic voters’ doors, and dialing their phones, we’re now knocking on virtual doors and we’re asking voters friends to do the knocking.”
While both the Republicans and Democrats have found new ways to effectively use social media for campaigns, the most successful initiatives are usually the grass-root interactions that resonate with the most voters. In my previous post titled, "King Maker & Social Networking Made Obama A Rock Star?" I detailed how Obama found ways to touch people at their computers and on their mobile phones to become active in the election process. And my recent post, "Social Media Speeds Up Political Promise Before Elections" shows how the Republicans are successfully connecting with their electorate constituencies.
So this post is strictly a bi-partisan editorial regarding yet another innovative way of using social media to get candidates elected. In a country that has less than half of its populace show-up at election booths for mid-term elections, I think the California Dems are on to something in developing a useful tool to ratchet up those numbers.
Your thought readers? What else are the Republicans and Democrats doing to make sure their candidates get into office? And will you be voting this election? Why or why the hell, not?