Please, God, Let This Election Be Over

Hey, did you know there’s an election going on?  I know, I was surprised too! But apparently it’s a big thing -- it’s all over the social media!

According to a new survey from Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life project, 22% of registered voters have already announced who they voted for or will vote for via social media -- and unsurprisingly the portion goes up among younger folks (also known as the “oversharing generation”). In fact, 29% of registered voters ages 18-39 have announced their choice to the world on a social networking site, compared with 19% of registered voters ages 50-64, and 14% of voters ages 65+.

Social media may also play a role in prompting people to vote, according to Pew: 45% of registered voters ages 18-29 said they had been encouraged to vote by family or friends via social media, while 40% of voters ages 30-49, 27% of voters ages 50-64, and 11% of voters 65+ reported the same. And there’s plenty of partisanship too: 34% of voters ages 18-29 have encouraged others to vote for a specific candidate via social media, along with 26% of voters ages 30-49, 16% of voters ages 50-64, and 9% of voters ages 65+.

With that very idea in mind, according to ClickZ last week MoveOn.org launched a get-out-the-vote app called Vote Buddy, which allows people to encourage their Facebook friends to vote. Vote Buddy allows users to create and join election-focused Facebook groups called “voting blocks,” which in turn allow them to make a public pledge to vote and encourage others in the group to vote. Vote Buddy is based on an app, Vote With Friends, developed by Fight For the Future, which describes itself as a non-profit and non-partisan group advocating political engagement. A number of other groups are also using the app, ClickZ reports, including liberal-sounding organizations like Rebuild the Dream and YogaVotes, and groups which I will go out on a limb and guess are conservative, like Gun Rights and Save Our Constitution and Freedom.

Meanwhile if you want to track the rate and volume of voting today, Mashable reports that Facebook and Foursquare have both unveiled interactive online maps that record when and where users report they have voted. Facebook’s map is visually engaging, with each vote or cluster of votes portrayed by an expanding, fading blue circle, so it looks kind of like rain in a puddle. To participate in the Foursquare map, Foursquare users just have to check in with “#ivoted” which also gets them a limited-edition “I Voted” badge.

Oh, by the way, if you are a member of generation overshare, and you were thinking about taking a photo of your ballot for some reason, you might want to bear in mind that using photographic equipment in the voting booth is actually illegal in a number of states. According to the Citizen Media Law Project, the list of states that forbid photography or recording equipment inside polling places includes Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Nevada and Texas. Other states are also a bit cagy about the practice: in North Carolina, for example, it’s illegal to take a picture of a completed ballot, and according to AllThingsD, in Wisconin posting pictures of completed ballots to social media sites is technically a Class I felony. Yikes.

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3 comments about "Please, God, Let This Election Be Over".
  1. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston , November 6, 2012 at 4:40 p.m.
    You seem surprised that it's illegal to record your own vote. Yet that is exactly how voter fraud might work: A campaign PAYS people if they vote a certain direction and can offer proof of their votes. But not being able to keep photographic records of their votes prevents voters from SELLING their votes! So it's difficult to ensure that the person being paid to vote actually votes that way. Then again, nothing keeps campaigns from transporting otherwise-nonvoters to the polls with the promise of a hot meal. Which political party engages in THAT practice? Are they not buying votes?
  2. Tim Orr from Barnett Orr Marketing Group, Inc. , November 7, 2012 at 6:29 p.m.
    I transported a lady to the polls for early voting (in mid-October) who had only four punches left on her bus pass and had to make those last for the rest of the month. I don't see that as "buying" her vote. We did not discuss for whom she was voting, nor for whom I voted. We did not discuss politics or parties. I saw it as helping her perform her civic duty – which I see as doing mine. I am not ashamed. Voter suppression is an infinitely larger problem than voter fraud.
  3. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited , December 2, 2012 at 3:23 p.m.
    Does anyone know why it became illegal to sell alcohol on election day ? Yup.