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Strategy and planning

Page history last edited by JonPincus 11 years, 9 months ago

A work in progress ... please help fill in the blanks and evolve it!



  • provide data from grassroots monitoring of election information, useful to election protection workers, voters, media, and others






High-level strategy

  • define simple protocol for reporting over Twitter
  • develop visualizations applications for several scenarios (using a "Jam Session" to catalyze)
  • partner with other election protection groups, e.g. 1866-OUR-VOTE, League of Younger Voters, Rock the Vote, Voter Suppression Wiki, etc., to get broad participation in creating the project -- as well as (hopefully) plenty of participants
  • use snazzy technology, web-2.0-buzzword-enabled approach, and "grassroots activists helping save democracy" narrative to catch media attention
  • combine volunteer Sweepers and "SuperTweeters" with automated analysis and visualization technologies


Rough timeline


  • Oct 24: Jam Session
  • ???: Press release, coordinated PR with partners
  • Oct ???: Beta test/Rehearsal
  • Nov 3, evening: Final preparations
  • Nov 4: showtime


Note: we also want to capture as much information as possible about early voting between now and Nov. 4.


Media plan


General strategy:

  • Blogger conference call: At some point we should hold a conference call with interested bloggers to walk them through the project. The Election Protection Coalition has offered to do some outreach and logisitics for it.
  • Press release: There should probably be a standard press release that goes out through the usual channels.



  • Potential targets: tech press (Wired, tech bloggers), political press (Washington Post, New York Times, political bloggers on right and left)
  • Potential hooks:
    • The progressive angle: how activists, programmers, established organizations, and others have worked together in a decentralized way to make this happen, and quickly
    • The tech angle: modern mobile activism using tools that weren't available until recently; the wonders and challenges of open format and decentralization?
    • Other, more specific hooks: Credo making text messaging free for election day?
  • Coordinate with partners also doing PR and highlight the overall "working together for election protection" narrative




This space for rent.


Back of the envelope numeric calculations


  • # of voters: 122,000,000 in 2004, at least 75,000,000 on election day.
    • if we get 1% involved, that's at least 750,000 messages
  • # polling places in the US: ? ideally we'd have messages hourly from each one (to get an idea of wait times), so multiple this by 8 for the number of messages; and this is also the number of people we need to get involved
  • # incidents reported to 866-OUR-VOTE in 2004: 42,841 (including primaries, I think). Conclusion: most incidents go unreported. what percentage of these need additional investigation?
  • # provisional ballots: 2,000,000 ? (based on Wikipedia's "at least 1.9 million" in 2004). if we're shooting for 10% coverage of problems, that'd be 200,000 messages.
  • #twitter users: 1,600,000 M, estimates that 20-30% are active, so we're drawing from a pool of 300-500,000. 
    • estimate needed to get decent coverage at the precinct level?
    • estimate needed to get decent coverage at the county level?


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