Tomorrow, I’ll go to my local balloting place which is conveniently located 2 blocks from my apartment. I’ll walk there with the “prep” ballot I’ve already put together, which I’ll carry mostly due to an increasingly poor short term memory (yes on 87). And there I’ll likely meander through lines, fill out some form incorrectly, then eventually find a place to fill out my ballot. I have a lot of confidence that I won’t accidentally follow the wrong dotted line, and I predict no hanging chads.
But that’s just our civic responsibility. That’s what we’re supposed to do. David Cohn over at NewAssignment (a new web site dedicated to citizen journalism) put together a list of how we can go above and beyond our basic responsibilities, and actually participate in the process. Here are a couple of my favorites:
- Video The Vote is an organized effort, using camera phones and video, to cover any mishaps voters encounter this Tuesday.
- The The Polling Place Photo Project is a nationwide experiment in citizen journalism to capture, post and share photographs of democracy in action by documenting the local voting experience. NewAssignment.Net consulted on the project.
- Along with independent live blogging networks news organizations like the BBC, CNN and others are relying on citizen journalists to get full coverage of this years election. They can’t be everywhere, but we already are.
I’m bringing along my digital camera, and I look forward to doing my job as a citizen. For newer readers, I only became a US citizen earlier this year, and I’m glad to have my chance to fulfill the commitment I made. I hope you do as well.
Take a look at David’s list – it’s even in an easy-to-consume “Top 9” format!
UPDATE: if you are one of the, say 95% of the mobile phone owners in this country whose phone is capable of storing or sharing video, take a look at the “Veek the Vote” service. Read the comments below by Kemble and Rodger for more info, or skip that and just go check out the site. Just be sure to vote tomorrow!
As a Californian, I’ve had to prepare quite alot for my civic responsibility on Election Day. The ballot initiatives are so long that my sample ballot and accompanying material looks like a phone book.
I’ll be joining with Jeremy on Tuesday to do more than my civic duty. I’ll be using my video enabled cell phone to record my experiences around Sacramento and San Francisco. I want to collect qualitative data on why people are voting. Also, if there are any voting irregularities I’ll be sure to document them too.
Please join us in protecting the integrity of American democracy by recording what you seee and experience. From your cell phone, you can send videos via MMS to email@example.com Then, just several minutes later, those experiences can be viewed at and wherever else the player has been embedded.
Disclosure: Veek the Vote is non-partisan. Kemble is a former Regional Field Director for Rock the Vote and currently a consultant for Veeker.
I’d like to let you know about one more way that you can document on election day. And this is using the camera in your mobile phone, if you have one. Over 70 million are in the US market right now. Believe it or not, these have become the most pervasive imaging devices in the world. During the period from 2005 to 2009, over 2.4 billion phones equipped with video cameras will hit the market. Most everyone will have one.
So, what does that world look like? Well, anyone can shoot a video and send it immediately. This is a trend that is just beginning. But a very powerful one. We launched Veeker, a mobile video communication service, to help become a part of it.
Veek The Vote 2006 is a project we launched with YouthNoise.com, a non-profit organization that has built a social network for teens dedicated to social change. Veek the Vote enables anyone with a camera-enabled mobile phone to send videos and pictures via MMS message (like a text message–no special software needed) to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The videos and photos will appear in a special player at YouthNoise.com, Veeker.com, and Veekthevote.com just moments after they are sent (15 – 60 seconds). No registration is required.
So, imagine you are at the poll tomorrow, and something does go down. You or the person next to you in line can take out your phone, shoot a video or a photo, send it to email@example.com and it will appear for the world to see in near real-time.
Also, anyone can take the player from veekthevote.com, and embed it on their own website (via an embed code). The ability to take in videos and photos from anyone, aggregate them, and then distribute them anywhere is a new kind of distributed network–a very powerful one that we hope people will take to! It’s a very democratic thing in itself, and we believe can really help open up election coverage–whether it’s exposing irregularities at polling stations, or just giving anyone the ability to make a 30 second statement about how they feel about the election.
Veekthevote.com is live now, and I encourage you to give it a try!
Co-Founder, Chief Marketing & Product Officer