Using Twitter to monitor and document Elections

I think that’s where Michelle  Wolverton is going at SmartMobs when she posted on Using Twitter to Solve Problems on Election Day, where Twitter is envisioned as being leveraged to monitor the election and deploy resources in needed areas in real time.

I’m wondering what Obama campaign‘s plans are, given the history of contentous elections, in leveraging the large grassroots support to monitor the election for such “irregularities” as can be expected.

One of the obvious reasons to expect irregularities, is that in the Federal and State, the opposition partly is largely still in control – and they don’t want to leave.  Forget about what’s better for the country or not, that’s always debatable and most of the country will never be on the same page about that – but we can play fair, except, some people don’t play fair, they play to win, sometimes, at any cost.

It sound like Obama’s campaign has taken all the neccessary steps, and he’s surrounded by really smart people who he shows the ability to listen to.  Certainly, Colin Powell’s endorsement of Obama today -see Powell Backs Obama and Criticizes McCain Tactics in the New York Times- is yet another step in “inoculating” Obama and his campaign in case a “national security” incident, all of a sudden, arises in the next two weeks, one that would play to John McCain’s strengths – I hope that doesn’t happen, but it’s naive, given the track record of the last 8 years, not to plan for it, especially if it’s the only card left to play.

It’s one thing, too, to broadly come out against unfair tactics, in a campaign, or party, and another to enforce it – especially at the local level.  In 2004 there was clearly a lot of fowl play that was difficult to pin down and react to till it was too late – and that’s where Twitter, YouTube and RSS Feeds can nutrualize a lot of the potential damage.

But another reason for mobalize grassroots support to document the election is the case where something goes wrong, massively wrong – and it ends up in the Supreme Court or Congress to solve.

Last time something like that happened, in 2000, and to some extent, in 2004, documentation, as I recall, of voting irregularities, were, no doubt, hard to pin down.

This can be very important if things do go south at the last minute – because with this much grass roots support and documentation, on the internet, on Election Day, the kind of antics pulled off in the last two elections, will be largely nullified – not entirely, but largely neutralized – and it’s important to take any step, ahead of time, know that the party in power, does not want to leave.   It’s hard to play the same card, over and over, and always win, at some point, it stops being effective – I think that’s what is happening in this election.

And look, there’s a lot of reasons for the ruling party not to want to leave – let’s not make it easier for them.

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