This is a round-up of some of the apps I’ve seen news & other orgs using online to help people understand and engage with the mid-term elections in the US. It’s not an exhaustive list, just things that passed in front of my eyeballs on election day. The images are all linked.
First up, Mashable was reporting at 11am November 3 NZ time that interest in the mid-terms is breaking web traffic records:
It will still be at least a few hours before we know all of the results of today’s mid-term elections in the United States, but interest in the proceedings is apparently so high that a long-standing (in Internet time) Web traffic record has already been broken.
According to Akamai’s Net Usage Index for News, traffic to 100 top news sites (powered by Akamai’s content delivery network) has already peaked at a higher level than Barack Obama’s 2008 Presidential election victory – 4.6 million to 4.2 million page views per minute, respectively.
Google meanwhile was tracking search terms:
On Hot Trends at 1pm PT today, 13 of the top 20 searches were election-related, most of which had to do with figuring out where to vote. Terms like [polling place locator], [voting locations by zip code] and [where do i vote] have been popular all day, as well as state-specific searches like [nc board of elections] and [where to vote in minnesota]. Others are turning to the Internet to ask how long they have to vote, with searches like [what time do the polls close]. And earlier today, we even saw a handful of hot searches like [am i registered to vote in texas] and [voter registration]—apparently some well-meaning citizens have left one important part of the process until the last minute!
Of course, many people are also looking to make decisions about how to vote. The terms [vote smart] and [voters guide] have been popular today, indicating that people are trying to squeeze in some research before heading to the polls. Naturally, searches for various candidates, from [bill white] of Texas to [charlie baker] of Massachusetts, have increased today as well. Other searches like [massachusetts ballot questions 2010], [oklahoma state questions] and [amendment 4 florida] spiked this morning as people look for information about statewide measures. And at 1pm PT, three of the top 20 terms on Hot Trends had to do with California’s proposition 19.
Google was among a number of providers to offer election apps for iPhone and iPad that helped people find polling places and follow results.
The Washington Post sponsored the #election tag on Twitter on election day and its tweets appeared at the top of my timeline with a yellow banner that read: Promoted by the Washington Post.
The WashPo provided previews of each state and used an interactive map to let readers drill down to the state and county they were interested in. The map and tabs made it a tidy viewing experience.
And it had an interactive map keeping track of vote counts as they came in.
The New York Times also had a results map, which let you switch between the House, Senate, Governors and Caucus.
The New York Times built a dynamic app that showed how many tweets were mentioning various candidates names at any given time.
And it curated its own tweets.
Reuters embedded in its election page a feed of tweets from influential Twitter accounts in each state.
LifeHacker made it easy to find your polling station by typing in your address.
Facebook built an app for finding polling locations.
Project Vote Smart made a really slick app that showed which candidates in each state were most aligned with your views on key issues such as healthcare, gun control, immigration and the economy. (You can turn off the sound once you click through the first screen. Mute button is bottom right of page.)
Good magazine ran a competition to design an infographic about the election, a story about a McDonald’s store owner who advised staff to ‘vote for the right people’, and this infographic showing the issues Americans have been hot on in past elections back to 2001.
Talking Points Memo ran a poll tracker.
Politifact rated the claims made in election advertising ‘barely true’.
After rating hundreds of claims in the 2010 election — from TV ads, debates, interviews and mailings — we’re giving an overall Truth-O-Meter rating to the campaign.
We rate it Barely True.
In a majority of claims checked this fall by PolitiFact and our eight state partners, we found a grain of truth, but it was exaggerated, twisted or distorted. (We define Barely True as a statement containing some element of truth, but it “ignores critical facts that would give a different impression.”)
The Sunlight Foundation used Coveritlive to keep track of election tweets.
The Washington Post offered up election night bingo as a bit of light relief.
Lauren Kirchner did a round-up of election graphics run by smaller-circulation news orgs on Columbia Journalism Review:
Earlier this week I did a quick rundown of some eye-catching interactive graphics that newsrooms at papers like The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal rolled out for Election Day. It would be unfair, though, to only focus on heavy-hitting sites that have dedicated interactive staff for such time-consuming projects. Across the country, smaller-circulation newspapers had to make the same decisions about how to visualize the data coming in on Election Night, but they had to make those decisions with far fewer resources.
10,000 words wrote about:
Cable and broadcast anchors weren’t the only ones giving on-camera commentary on the 2010 midterm elections on Tuesday night. You can add Politico and The New York Times to the list of traditionally non-broadcast news outlets providing live commentary and updates.
Other sites worth looking at:
Center for Public Integrity
Guardian Politics API
I’d quite like to develop this post into a reference site for election coverage apps and ideas, so please add any links you have in a comment and I’ll add them to the post. Thanks!