2012 Election: There's an App for That

New technology tools engage voters, help politicophobes avoid election content.

by / October 29, 2012
Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Four years is an eternity in the technology world, so the tools available during each presidential election are lightyears past the previous one. It's already been four years since Apple unveiled its App Store, and back then, the iPad didn't even exist (that came along in 2010). Android phones hadn't really taken off in 2008 either.

Thanks to technology's evolution, the voters during this election season have access to a new set of tools that almost no one could have conceived four years ago. The Obama camp released an iPhone app for canvassing, replacing the traditional clipboard. Two new apps that help users understand political advertisements were developed – Ad Hawk and the Super PAC App allow users to find out who is behind ads to give greater context than the unilateral approach traditionally found in them.

There are apps with charts and graphs to help voters keep track of the polls before election day, like the U.S. Election Race 2012 app, and The New York Times Election 2012 app. A web app called Vote Planner will be released by the Sunlight Foundation to help voters make decisions across the entire ballot by providing more information about initiatives based on the voter's location, according to The New York Times.

Social media such as Facebook and Twitter have played and increasingly large role both for people who want to share their opinions online and for candidates looking to gain new followers. A new sentiment index, called the Twitter Political Index, uses the social media site's some 400 million daily tweets to monitor election progress online.

And for those who feel overloaded by politics, there's Unpolitic.me, an extension for the Google Chrome browser that blocks political content on Facebook and Twitter. Given that none of the aforementioned technologies existed four years ago, it's hard to imagine what technology in the 2016 will look like – maybe a cyborg will run for office!