The hottest trend on Twitter today was tagging your tweets “#votereport.” The idea (full description here) was to provide a real-time commentary on voting conditions and report any problems to the nonpartisan Election Protection coalition. But was anyone listening to Twitter’s problems? Turns out they were.
We got in touch with the Election Protection team and asked them what they saw on Twitter today:
- On Twitter, as with voting problems that were phoned in to the group’s toll-free hotline, only a small percentage of problem reports got followed up on.
- While the number of phone calls was “exponentially higher” (over 50,000 calls) than the Twitter reports, a much higher percentage of Twitter problems were investigated.
- Twitter generated about 20 investigations, while phone calls generated 70 follow-ups.
Here’s one: @wellstoneaction tweeted at around 12:30 EST:
Hearing of problem accessing MPLS polling location in ward 12 pct 7 (Vets Home) due to road closures & lack of signage. #EPMN #mnvotes
An Election Protection team member in Minnesota got in touch with the tweeter, and minutes later @wellstone action updated:
wow, great work Election Protection folks. I got a call in minutes in response to my tweet reporting a problem. #EPMN #mnvotes
We’re not sure just what the Election Protection did (open the roads?), and the national spokesman we talked to couldn’t tell us how the Minnesota team member resolved the problem. But the case demonstrates that the concept works.
Not that it always worked perfectly: When the Election Protection team found a tweet they wanted to address, they tried using Twitter’s “direct message” feature to contact the problem reporter for follow-up. But because of the way Twitter is built, it’s difficult to contact a person who isn’t already “friends” with the Election Protection Twitter account, @866ourvote. The good news: Even if the tipster wasn’t reachable, the problems they reported via Twitter (long lines, lack of translators) theoretically got worked on.
See Also: Twitter To Election Rescue
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