Twitter To Election Rescue

Coming Tuesday: Scores of TV reporters dipping into the real-time Twitter Election stream to hear what people are saying about the election. (The same way they obsessed over “the bloggers!” four years ago.)

But thanks to a site called Twitter Vote Report, they — and you — might actually get some useful information on election day.

Twitter Vote Report, put together by the folks at Tech President, has come up with a set of text commands that you can put into your tweets on Election Day to describe how things are going at your polling place: If there’s a long line, if there are machine problems, registration problems, etc. You can add geographic context with your ZIP code or the address of your polling place.

How does it work? Twitter Vote Report filters Twitter for messages that include specific commands (called “hash tags” in Twitter-talk). These are:

  • #votereport will get your tweet into the system, plus:
  • #[zip code] to indicate the zip code where you’re voting; ex., “#12345″
  • L:[address or city] to drill down to your exact location; ex. “L:1600 Pennsylvania Avenue DC”
  • #machine for machine problems; ex., “#machine broken, using prov. ballot”
  • #reg for registration troubles; ex., “#reg I wasn’t on the rolls”
  • #wait:[minutes] for long lines; ex., “#wait:120 and I’m coming back later”
  • #early if you’re voting before November 4th
  • #good or #bad to give a quick sense of your overall experience
  • #EP[your state] if you have a serious problem and need help from the Election Protection coalition; ex., #EPOH

So, for example, you might tweet: #votereport Just finished #10011 #machine covered in goo #wait:15, or something like that.

For now, you can watch the stream in real time. The team is also working on some neat mashups, like a Google Map that will show the tweets geographically, and a chart showing voting wait times across the country.

Don’t know Twitter? You can also send a text message to 66937 and start your message with “#votereport”, and you’ll supposedly be able to call in your information on Election Day.

They’ve also added an iPhone App to iTunes, which you can download for free. It includes an easy-to-understand form where you can rate your voting experience and add an audio report.

See Also:
Revenue Crisis: Here Come The Pro Accounts
Twitter CEO And Chairman Trade Jobs, Site Still Works
Twitter’s Election Site: Not All That Useful, But The Media Will Love It

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