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   September, 2012

Mobile Apps to Help You Through the November Election

Now that National Voter Registration Day is behind us, what’s next? At Revolution Messaging, we are focused on how technology can help strengthen our democracy and we’ve put together a list of three mobile apps that would make George Washington proud.

Election Protection Smartphone App

With this app, you can register to vote, verify your registration, find your polling place, review key voting rules and regulations by state, see what type of machine you’ll be voting on, and file a report regarding any problems and to get answers. So basically, you can do it all. If this app was around in 2000, maybe we could have avoided two wars, the PATRIOT ACT, and innumerable other travesties of the GW Bush presidency because election protection activists would have known that African-American voters were being turned away at the polls in Florida and given broken machines. That’s neither here or there though. Now, we can make sure we stop this.

Our democracy depends upon every eligible citizen being able to cast a vote and have that vote counted. When that doesn’t happen, when there are problems, it is imperative that those who can do something about it find out as quickly as possible. This app allows you to communicate problems quickly and effectively, as well as check the legality of something that seems suspicious, so we don’t end up with another president we didn’t elect.

Ad Hawk from the Sunlight Foundation

Ever watched an ad and thought, “that seems odd. I wish I knew who paid for it?” If so, Ad Hawk to the rescue. From the developers:

Ad Hawk is a free mobile app that allows you to identify political ads as they air and immediately learn about who is behind them. Want to know who is spending money to influence your vote? The app provides valuable contextual information about the candidate, super PAC and issues ads airing on TV and radio this election year. When you see a political ad on TV or hear one on the radio, open the app and click the TV set to have Ad Hawk start listening to the ad. In less than 30 seconds, Ad Hawk will create an audio fingerprint and start searching for a match.  When Ad Hawk finds a match, you will get information about how much money the ad’s sponsor received or spent, where the ad is on the air and media reports about the candidate or political group.

We’ll be using that this election year – let’s see how much money the Koch brothers put behind campaigns this year.

Settle it! by PolitiFact.com

Politicians are about as reliable as the Internet when it comes to your ability to believe everything you hear. Think of Settle It! as a lie detector test for claims made by boisterous politicians (so yes, this app will come in handy at every campaign speech, debate and event). PolitiFact.com says “The app, available in iTunes, Google Play and Amazon app stores, is known as ‘PolitiFact’s Argument Ender’ because it allows you to enter names, keywords and subjects and instantly find relevant Truth-O-Meter ratings.” The app also connects through your social media network, giving you the option to share results through Facebook and Twitter. Want to test your lie detecting skills? The app becomes interactive with its PolitiFact Challenge, “a game that shows a list of factual claims we [PolitiFact] have checked. You have to choose whether each one was rated True, False or Pants on Fire. You earn points for each correct answer and can work your way up through five playing levels, from ‘Intern’ to ‘Aide,’ ‘Lobbyist,’ ‘Pundit’ and then the highest level, ‘Wonk.’” So not only can you access important information, you can also compete with your friends, and we all know it’s more fun when someone wins. We think we can make it to Wonk pretty easily. Up for the challenge?

Now that you’re fully prepared, all you have left to do is VOTE.


New Media/Design Intern

You: Hard working, highly motivated, and fascinated by social media. You don’t mind campaign hours, and are seeking the opportunity to work with leaders in the lefty community, using tools that help innovate on-the-ground organizing and messaging. You are a great writer, a creative thinker, and have a passion for lefty political issues and causes. You want to work for a place that has clients you can be excited about and are proud to work for. You are a self-starter and can work independently and as part of a team. Technical skills in web production, programming and data tool sets are great, but are not strictly required. You don’t feel weird wearing jeans to work.

The gig: This internship is paid $10 an hour, to a maximum of 30 hours a week. You will work directly with RM staff to assist clients in shaping, maintaining and evolving their political presence in a niche technology market. Interns will get direct, hands-on experience with the social media tools that are vital in the campaigns of today and tomorrow and will learn how to effectively organize online in a fast paced political environment. Hours are flexible, as interns can commit to 20-40 hours per week. Typical projects include: Developing social media & social networking plans; Maintaining and developing of mobile messaging platforms; Assisting in preparation of client case studies; and Measuring the effectiveness of our clients’ social media strategies. We tend to hire exceptional interns to join our team as paid staff.

The following positions are available:

  • Social Media/Communications Intern: The social media intern will assist with marketing and communications activities as well as assist in innovative social networking.
  • New Media/Design Intern: The new media intern will mainly assist with the development side of things and may work directly on products produced for client use.
  • Film/Design Intern: The film intern will be conversant in filmmaking and have a strong sense of design and art. Final Cut Pro and strong writing/organizational skills are essential for this position.

Interns will likely have many of the same types of duties and will potentially be cross-trained in multiple areas and will have the chance to work on fun and exciting New Media projects.

If you think this sounds like a great learning experience, please send a cover letter explaining your qualifications and highlighting why you would be a great fit, along with a one-page resume to Kate at kate@revolutionmessaging.com or Jen at jen@revolutionmessaging.com.


FEC Ruling a Victory for Your Campaign

Campaigns and political organizations across America were handed a major victory by the Federal Election Commission yesterday. After a long, hard, well worth it fight, the FEC approved our advisory opinion request to expand mobile payments.

What does that mean for you? First and foremost, we have helped ensure that the new text message donation system is a more accessible, affordable and transparent process for political campaigns. Most importantly, we helped save thousands of dollars for political campaigns.

How did we do this? The FEC agreed to all of our requests in the opinion we filed last month:

Accessible – Campaigns will now be able to use shared shortcodes to allow a quicker time to market than the initial m-Qube proposal.

Affordable – Federal campaigns are now allowed to share the costs of the shortcode with other campaigns to save $10,000 to $20,000 in just set up and fees for the ability to use these services.

Transparent – Contributions will be allowed to be processed and reported, and not just simply marked as an anonymous donation of $50 to $200. This would truly make this method of payment a new channel for committees to solicit and report contributions of donors.

“This decision will not only bring this service to political committees faster, but will make it more affordable and open for those using it,” said Scott Goodstein, Revolution Messaging’s CEO and Founder. “It’s a tremendous victory for consumers who will use this technology to support federal PACs of their choosing. Text message fundraising is an innovation we should embrace, but not at the expense of transparency and good policy.”

We are excited for this new process to begin and ready to move forward with our clients to begin receiving the benefits of this new, accessible and efficient donation system.

Interested? Contact us today with any questions or to get started right away.