Campaigns, Voting and Election Tech

Obviously technology has played a ubiquitous roll on this very long and daunting path towards the White House. As we speak, I am glued to CNN on my TV, Huffington Post on my computer as the poll results continue to trickle in from precinct to precinct, state to state. Technology and digital media’s pogressive evolution has made this election unlike any election in history. It truly blows my mind that I have access to up-to-the-second poll results. However, access to this technology on Election Eve has become more like an addiction. And I’m enjoying every second of it.

Perhaps one of the most revolutionary and beneficial uses of technology was seen in Barack Obama’s campaign efforts. Obama and his organizers were able to assemble an email and text messaging campaign that seemingly amassed millions of foot soldiers. Not only did these digital campaigns provide subscribers with the latest information on Obama’s live and televised appearances, they provided volunteer opportunities and donation opportunities. This is a ground breaking and strategy and clearly it worked for Obama. This campaign resulted in a super wealthy campaign that was able to advertise on many media outlets across the nation. McCain’s campaign, on the other hand, was substantially poorer. Was this a result of Obama’s utilization digital resources? Perhaps.

No doubt Obama picked up where Howard Dean left. Dean’s campaign manager, Joe Trippi. An article on GovTech discusses the way that Trippi was able to utilize the internet and create a grassroots organization to take what was an obscure candidate with very little campaign money and turn him into a legitimate contender for the Democratic ticket. By taking the campaign online, they were able to cut campaign costs while simultaneously gaining access new forms of fundraising. Previously, the internet had only been used to make in-person campaign easier and more organized (think listings of mass-mailings). Until 2004, no one had taken campaigns online.

Obama’s digital campaign literacy has revolutionized the way people access political information. Obama has appealed to the Google and Facebook generation, which no doubt resulted in astronomical figures in the polls. Last night we watched history in the making- a revolutionary campaign has made way for a revolutionary Presidential candidate.

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