In addition to determining the leader of the free world, presidential elections showcase the profound advances media and technology can make over a four year period of time. In the 2008 election, mobile apps were just becoming part of the pop-cultural landscape and Netbooks (rather than iPads) were expected to take over the laptop computer market.
Today there are nearly one million apps, many of which can inform your choices on election day and keep you in the know when the returns come in the evening on the 6th of November. Here are five election-oriented apps worthy of your vote.
During the three presidential debates, approximately one-third of viewers under the age of 40 were using multiple screens to follow and react to the give-and-take presented on their television sets. Twitter and Facebook, which can be accessed via computers, smartphones, and tablets, enable anyone to share their thoughts with friends and followers. Apps like IntoNow, which is owned by Yahoo!, go one step further as an election night companion. The app automatically identifies and syncs to whatever program you are watching on television, allowing you to rate and interact with others over what you see on the screen. The IntoNow elections dashboard lets you do things like predict who will win, rate and vet political commercials, and indicate whether you think a pundit or candidate’s statement is true. The app also can grab screenshots of what you watch on TV, and you can post comments with friends and followers. For better and worse, it might be the best way to be heard this election season.
PollTracker (iPhone, iPod touch) Free
While Mitt Romney seems to have an edge in the popular vote, President Obama appears to be holding a slim lead in the Electoral College. The polls, of course, can change by the minute. Developed by Talking Points Memo, PollTracker provides a breakdown of national and state-by-state polling for the presidential and key congressional races. The app lets users segment data by demographics and voting blocks, and provides history information and analysis of the candidates.
Super PAC App (iPhone, iPod touch) Free
No matter what side of the political aisle you hail, the one thing we can all agree on is there are too many political commercials. Independent groups not directly involved with the campaigns fund many of the commercials appearing this year. Super PAC App uses Shazam-like voice recognition technology to identify what commercial you are watching at any point in time. From there, the app will provide information about the political action committee behind the campaign, and vet whether the commercial’s claims are true.
Congress+ (iPhone, iPod touch, iPad) $4.99
Learn the biography, voting record, financiers, and legislative activity of every member of the Senate or House of Representatives. Also access contact information for all members and staff, as well as a directory of their social media presence including Facebook pages, Twitter handles and YouTube Channels. This is one app that allows you to carry your congressperson in your back pocket.
Settle It! PolitiFact’s Argument Ender (iPhone, iPod touch, Android) Free
This app developed in part by The Poynter Institute determines the accuracy of statements made by candidates, notable surrogates and officials, and political commercials. Statements are labeled “True,” “Kind of True,” “False,” “Pants on Fire.” This gamified version of the original Settle It! app quizzes users on recent statements and determines if they are “interns” or “wonks.” It is a great app to have in a pinch to settle a cocktail party debate or family dinner conversation.