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   2012 Election

Someone Tell The Romney Digital Team They Forgot Something

Anyone see what is wrong with this picture? Hint – look at the date.

Free tip to Republican strategists everywhere, learn from the mistakes of the Romney digital team. Turn off your Facebook advertising after the election is over.

 


Latest on SMS Polling Place Lookup – Hurricane Sandy Updates

Last week, Revolution Messaging unveiled our SMS-based polling place lookup tool, which many of our clients and their supporters or members used to find where to vote on election day. We’re extremely happy that this tool has been a success, but last week’s Hurricane Sandy has made some things uncertain. We are urging users of this service to exercise caution when using it in areas where polling places may be closed, relocated or have their hours changed due to storm-related damage and flooding. The data we deliver with this tool comes from Google’s Civic Info API, and recently Google’s Anthea Watson Strong advised us and other developers using their service as follows:

“The Hurricane Sandy affected states of NY, CT, RI, NJ, MD and VA are still recovering, and we expect to see a number of hurricane related polling place changes. Our data provider is working to collect and publish as many polling place changes as possible. Local election officials are currently focused on disaster recovery and administering the election on Tuesday. To the extent they have capacity to publish changed locations in a format we can use, our data provider is working to ensure we get that information and make it available to you.”

We, along with Google and local election authorities, are doing everything we can to provide accurate information on polling place locations, but in those cases where it may not be certain, we feel it necessary to be honest that local authorities are rightly concerned first and foremost on disaster recovery. Our polling place finder will continue to offer our clients’ members, activists and supporters vital links to allow them to check with the local authorities along with their polling places and addresses, and especially in areas affected by the disaster, we advise them strongly to use these avenues as well.


People Received Thousands of Unwanted Political Spam Text Messages Last Night

Many people received unsolicited spam political text messages last night from anonymous anti-Obama sources. The messages have come from different email sources, including sms@votegopett.com and sms@informedett.com. These abuses threaten what is a very promising technology of text messaging for political engagement. People did not opt-in to receive these messages and ultimately end up having to pay the cost for this unwanted misinformation that appeared on their mobile phone.

Our team at Revolution Messaging has been working hard for over three years to end this type of modern-day push-polling. We filed an official petition asking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to declare once and for all that this Internet to text message political spam is illegal.

Visit www.pocketspammers.com to learn more about the issue of unsolicited political text message spam and even file an official comment with the FCC that will be soon be addressing this issue. Comments to the FCC are due by November 23rd.

A few of the messages people received last night were:

                                   

Help us fight to end political text message spam and prevent this kind of harassment. Let’s make sure voters aren’t charged for untraceable misinformation in the form of text messages that they never asked for!

UPDATE: Wondering who is behind this? Find out now.


Revolution Messaging Presents New SMS Polling Place Lookup Tool

Revolution Messaging is excited to announce our new polling place lookup tool for the 2012 election. The tool acts as a mobile-friendly way for voters to avoid cluttered and confusing Secretary of State websites when looking for their polling location. The tool uses data from the NOI Voting Information Project (VIP) to instantly deliver voters’ polling places, based on their street address, directly to their phones.

Test the tool yourself by texting LOC and your ADDRESS to 90975 to receive the following text message:

Also provided is the direct link to Revolution Messaging’s state-based Tumblr tool (http://bit.ly/USAVoter). This tool provides additional information, such as voting deadlines, links to all Secretary of State websites and important phone numbers, all on a mobile friendly site. This also ensures people can lookup last minute changes to VIP data, and that Revolution Messaging and our clients are providing the most accurate information to voters.

Interested in learning more? Contact your client representative today at 202-299-9393!


New App Puts Tools To Fight Voter Suppression In Your Hands

Text OURVOTE to 90975 to verify registration status, check voting rules, find polling locations and report potential voting obstructions

(Washington, DC) – The new Election Protection app, available on all major mobile devices, is the most powerful election protection tool available today. The app was created to empower voters and to ensure that all eligible voters can cast their ballots and have them counted this Election Day.

One of the most important features of the app is the ability to ask questions or report any type of voting problem directly to a team of highly trained volunteers and tap into a coalition of attorneys and legal experts at the national and local level to immediately answer questions and pursue remedies.

“The development of this app was a true collaboration of organizations that are each focused on helping all eligible Americans vote and determined to put the power to protect voting rights directly in the hands of voters,” said Eric Marshall of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

This app, designed and built by Revolution Messaging, turns your mobile phone into a citizen watchdog tool and gives you the ability to connect to the national Voter Protection network by downloading the app from iTunes (search: Elect Protect), or by texting OURVOTE to 90975.  You can even use your phone’s GPS & camera features (iPhone users) to take a photo of the potential violation and geo-tag it to the exact location of the incident.

“As a former Freedom Rider, I know the incredible importance of exercising your right as an American to cast a ballot.  I hope every smartphone holder in the country uses the power now in their hands to fight for every single American’s precious right to vote,” said Harold Ickes, president of Catalist.

The app is available on all major mobile devices (iOS, Android, Blackberry) and works on all smartphones, tablets and through the mobile web.  It is easily shareable between friends and family – just tell them to text OURVOTE TO 90975 – regardless of the type of smartphone you might use. A Spanish language version of the app is also coming soon.

The mobile app allows users in real-time to:

  • Report problems and issues of obstructing voters rights through live hotline directly to the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and use an easy to upload form to geo-tag the location if the problem using smartphone GPS, and even add a photo to the report
  • Verify voter registration status using links to Catalist‘s continuously updated national voter database
  • Submit voter registration forms through Rock-the-Vote
  • Look up polling locations through Google’s “VIP” service
  • See key voting rules & regulations for each state compiled by New Organizing Institute
  • Review what type of machines are used at each polling place compiled by Verified Voting

Download the app today – text OURVOTE to 90975!


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.


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.


In Case You Missed It…

Have you joined the Revolution in calling out to the Federal Communications Commission to stop political text spam and end the latest type of voter suppression? In case you missed it, this week three different news outlets covered our petition asking the FCC to clarify its regulations under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which prohibits groups from sending text messages to your cell phone without an opt-in or opt-out feature. This regulation applies to all SMS campaigns and the FCC must make this clear and enforce it. Learn more about our efforts and how you can help avoid a costly election for voters with these three great sources:

Vote 4 Me!!: The political consultants who want to send you unsolicited text messages, and the man who is fighting to stop them. By Sasha Issenberg

Slate tells the story of the fight to end political text spam from the beginning when Revolution Messaging founder Scott Goodstein investigated a spam claim from 2009 to today and the current petition filed with the FCC.

Political junk mail you pay for: It’s not exactly free speech when the recipients have to pay for unwanted political text messages, a relatively new phenomenon that regulators should squash now.

LaTimes.com wrote an editorial comparing unsolicited text messages, which costs voters money each time they are sent an unwanted text, to other forms of negative campaign ads, which voters aren’t charged for. The editorial understands the need for immediate action to end this “relatively new phenomenon that regulators should squash before it spreads.”

School for scandal

CBC.ca National News in Canada interviewed Revolution Messaging Founder Scott Goodstein and Founder of StopPoliticalCalls.org Shaun Dakin on the dangers of using technology for voter suppression activities.


Political Text Message Spam Showing Up in the 2012 Presidential Election

New Form of Voter Suppression and Dirty Politics Clogging Up Cell phones in Michigan

WASHINGTON, Feb. 27, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ – Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is being targeted by the latest practice of voter suppression in the form of political text message spam. Progressive organization Revolution Messaging has been working to raise the awareness of this dangerous new tactic by calling on the Federal Communications Commission to put a stop to it.  Complaints are rolling in about these unsolicited text messages throughout Michigan, whose primary is this upcoming Tuesday. The text messages said “Romney’s Poor Comments” from an email address of a group that does not exist: michigan@westcoastrepublicans.com. The text message included a phone number that sent people to a recorded message attacking Romney. In addition to not being able to identify who these nefarious messages are actually from or be properly opted in to receiving these updates -  they actually cost the voter money because text messages are not free to the end-user in the U.S.

People took to Facebook and Twitter to complain about these spam messages, including Jackie Hall from Michigan who posted to a local Michigan television station’s Facebook page:

ABC12: Your Trusted Source! WJRT-TV

Really hoping you’ll cover these unwanted texts from 9897870163 (michigan@westcoastrepublicans.com). I received one at 10:30 last night, and am very upset by this kind of practice. It should be illegal.

Revolution Messaging has been working to expose this under-the-radar tactic used in Congressional Races in 2010 and then again in Virginia’s Legislative Campaigns in 2011.  The firm launched PocketSpammers.com, in early February, to raise awareness of this growing issue and to push the FCC to take a stance against this practice by closing any loopholes in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

“We’ve already seen runaway spending on campaigns this year,” said Scott Goodstein, founder of the firm. “We need for the FCC to assure people that unwanted & illegal text message spam will not be tolerated – period.”

Some corporations claim they have found a loophole in the (TCPA) that allows them to send unsolicited political text message spam to users’ cell phones with no opt-in or opt-out component. Under this act, the FCC has adopted regulations, which prohibit sending spam text messages.

It’s time for the FCC to end this illegal practice that hits voters right in the wallet. These text messages are sending an anonymous attack ad while costing voters money with an unwanted text message. This spam is timed perfectly for the opposition, sending an attack right before a primary election. The same tactic was seen in Colorado and the website WestCoastRepublicans.com was found to be registered by Domains by Proxy, an Arizona-based company helping people register for websites while protecting their identity.

People need to continue calling on the FCC to clarify that the ban on text messaging spam applies to ALL companies, including those who run Internet-to-phone text messaging programs.

Revolution Messaging is asking for help to push this message to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, and Commissioners Mignon Clyburn and Robert McDowell, by signing the petition on PocketSpammers.com. This petition helps reinforce the one officially filed with the FCC on January 19th asking them to clearly define the text message regulations included in the TCPA.

This could be a costly 2012 election for voters if the FCC doesn’t stand up now and put an end to these unsolicited messages that are turning into a new form of voter suppression.

 


The Drawbacks of Text-to-Donate

California Governor Jerry Brown declared his support for allowing campaigns in California to start accepting donations via text message. On the surface this seems like a no-brainer as online donations have brought millions, if not billions, of dollars into campaigns through large and small donations. But text-to-donate has way too many drawbacks before it becomes a political reality.

Drawback one: Reporting. Currently, it’s illegal for a campaign to accept money via text message. Mobile carriers are not setup to track compliance data. So is the donor actually eligible to give? Are they an American over the age of majority? Have they exceeded campaign donation limits? Are they an employee of the Government? None of this information is currently available on a national level and probably won’t be for California elections.

Drawback two: Waiting. Mobile donations can take 90 days to process. Except in the case of the Haiti earthquake, mobile carriers wait until customers pay their bills before they start writing checks to the beneficiary. In the case of many special elections, runoffs or general elections, the 90-day period before a campaign gets its check from the mobile carrier may be post-Election Day.

Drawback three: Donation size. Mobile carriers aren’t credit card companies. They are in the business of taking money, not handing it out. Many carriers won’t start cutting checks until the amount donated has reached a certain threshold. For smaller or less popular campaigns this means the money could never come. Donors will be charged and the donations will be collected, but the campaign won’t see the money.

Drawback four: Fees. Mobile phone companies allow 501(c)(3) non-profits the ability to collect donations via text for a small charge or sometimes for free. But campaigns may not fit into that category. At this point, there isn’t a category for political campaigns and mobile giving fees are high, really high – 20 to 50 percent high. So now, a $5 donation is really worth $2.50. It’s up to the carriers to waive or lower this fee. Does Verizon really want to lower the fees for every person running for office in the entire state of California? Or for all political campaigns if this law can work on a federal level one day? Until then, it’s very cost prohibitive.

Drawback five: Digital Divide. Users with prepaid phones cannot participate nor can Cricket mobile customers, as Cricket doesn’t allow subscribers access to the shortcodes necessary to donate.

While mobile giving is certainly a great way to allow instant and small donations, it’s not feasible right now. The carriers need to change the way they operate, and states and the federal government need to adjust required disclosures for mobile giving. Once that happens, then we can begin the discussion on using mobile giving for campaigns. But simply allowing mobile donations in California is not the way to do it. If Governor Brown wants to bring something into the online age, he should start with online voter registration.