There's still time to vote! Here are tools to find information about voting today; learn how to build tech with (not for) movements; and more.
This is civic tech: If you are searching online for information on where to vote (or if you got information on voter registration or absentee ballots), you are using Democracy Works’ Voting Information Project’s data, as this brief video explains. Everyone from Google and Facebook on down owes VIP a debt of gratitude (and more funding!)
Just in time for Election Day, Pizza to the Polls is crowdfunding the delivery of pies wherever it gets reports of long lines of people waiting to vote. As of Monday afternoon, it had already delivered nearly a thousand pies to 73 places where early voting had long waits.
Need a ride to the polls or want to offer one? Go to CarPoolVote.
Public service announcement: If you have questions or see problems at the polls text OUR VOTE to 97779 and you will be connected to a trained nonpartisan Election Protection volunteer. More details at 866ourvote.org.
If you want to obsess over the early vote, which totaled 35.5 million ballots cast as of yesterday (compared to 20.2 million in 2014), check out Target Early, a resource developed by TargetSmart.
Amazon has teamed up with Ballotpedia to make it easy for Alexa users to find out the answers to questions like “When are the polls open?” and “What’s on my ballot?”
Here’s hoping that the voting happens without any hitches or glitches, but as Zeynep Tufekci concisely explains in her latest New York Times oped, the fact that nearly half of the electorate already thinks that ballots won’t be counted fairly suggests that the election has already been hacked. Trust in the results in one of our most precious assets, she writes.
Also on the New York Times oped page, Alex Tapscott lays out the case for using blockchain to enable secure online voting. I believe Joseph Lorenzo Hall, the chief technology officer of the Center for Democracy and Technology, has the best response to Tapscott’s oped.
A team at ProPublica finds that George state officials have been busy fixing security problems with the state’s voter registration system even after the Republican candidate for governor, Secretary of State Brian Kemp, said they didn’t exist.
The World Wide Web Foundation, led by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, has launched the #ForTheWeb campaign seeking to unite “governments, companies and the public to stand up for a free, open and safe web that benefits everyone.”
Tech and politics: The 2018 mid-term election is going to break records for turnout, and in this post for Civicist I take a deep dive into the scale of the mobilization underway, comparing some of the early data with the 2008 and 2012 presidential cycles, the last time Democrats had this much grassroots energy.
MobilizeAmerica, a new (for 2018) clearinghouse connecting volunteers to Democratic campaigns, reports that nearly a quarter million shifts were scheduled to be completed (for things like canvassing and phone-banking) between November 2-6, a third of the total scheduled cumulatively on the site.
Do note: when turnout changes substantially from past elections, most pollsters’ predictions turn out to be useless, as Peter Hanby writes for Vanity Fair.
Our colleague Danielle Tomson takes to Medium to explain the rise of the “Alt-Woke” voter—who may be growing in numbers in reaction to the blue wave, and who resents what he sees as top-down solutions that hurt “the little guy” more than they help the people they are meant to help.
New on Civicist: Guest oped by Brian Young, the founding executive director of Action Network (which has processed more than a billion emails for progressive organizations in the last few months), on the hows and whys of building tech with (not for) movements.
Using “sophisticated analytics, new approaches to texting and social media, as well as new technology for mass video collection, vetting and production,” MoveOn is betting millions on its Real Voter Voices program, spending heavily on Facebook ads to reach an estimated 25 million voters.
Interestingly, in addition to explaining its effort, MoveOn says its heavy expenditure on Facebook (it’s the top political advertiser there in the past week, “doesn’t mean that we still don’t see significant problems with the company’s practices, related to its monopoly status, the filter-bubble, the way it’s still used to spread misinformation, as well as the privacy threats that it poses. Even though we’ve made this significant investment in Facebook ads, we’re fully committed to running aggressive campaigning calling on aggressive remedies to the problems present in the platform.”
Life in Facebookistan: You know how politicians will wait til a Friday afternoon to release news they want no one to notice. As the New York Times’ Kevin Roose notes, “Facebook just released a big, independent examination of its role in human rights abuses in Myanmar. Luckily, there’s nothing else going on in the news so we’ll all have time to fully absorb and process it.”
As Facebook’s Alex Warofka posts, the report, written by Business for Social Responsibility, “concludes that, prior to this year, we weren’t doing enough to help prevent our platform from being used to foment division and incite offline violence.”
Remember that spate of stories about Facebook setting up an elections “war room” to swat down misinformation aimed at influencing the election? The New York Times’ Kevin Roose shows how easy it is to find, with just a few clicks, hoax content getting thousands of shares on the social network.
Related: Someone is running a Facebook page using Senator Bernie Sanders‘ image to urge people to vote for Green Party candidates, William Turton and Jeremy Merrill report for Vice News, but so far the company has refused to take down the page.
Digging deeper, Columbia University’s Jonathan Albright posts on how political misinformation campaigns are still running amok on the giant social network. He reports that there are an “alarming number of verified Pages” that are running political ads but being managed by foreign accounts, and questions whether Facebook’s vaunted new political ad transparency system is working as advertised. In a second post, he describes how Facebook Groups have become the primary vector for political rumor-mongering, with far less transparency than in the past.
Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) shares some disruptive thoughts about regulating Facebook, in a wide-ranging interview with Makena Kelly of The Verge.
Meanwhile, at Twitter, they’re apologizing for the fact that last Friday, the phrase “Kill all Jews” was a trending topic in New York. As Katie Notopoulos and Ryan Mac pointed out for BuzzFeed News, the phrase is a violation of the company’s own rules, which do not permit word that incite hate on the basis of religious affiliation, among other things.
Information disorder: Here’s how a meme (Jobs not Mobs) moved from the fringe of the right-wing internet to the mainstream, courtesy of Keith Collins and Kevin Roose and a lovely graphic illustration in The New York Times.
538’s Nate Silver says that online prediction markets shouldn’t be trusted anymore, tweeting that “they’re very #MAGAey and full of traders who think polls are fake news.”