How can Common Cause/NY crowd source poll monitoring using mapping and SMS tools to track issues in real-time?
Traditionally, poll watching and monitoring is performed primarily by representatives of the candidates and attorneys for political parties because of the expense of training and deploying a sufficient number of poll watchers to cover election districts in areas where there are likely to be issues at the polls. There are rarely, if ever, disinterested representatives of the public who can observe and report problems or illegal activities at polling places. Most advocacy and non-profit organizations simply don’t have the resources to monitor a large number of polling sites. In NYC, one civil rights organization uses volunteers to conduct exit polls and issues retrospective reports and some neighborhood based groups may place volunteers in some polling places in their own neighborhood.. As a consequence, reporting of problems or illegal activities at polls is reported episodically, if at all, and often retrospectively. It is difficult to obtain information in real time to convey to the Board of Elections or to follow-up on Election Day. Programs like Election Protection and Common Cause/NY & NYPIRG’s Election Day Hotline rely on people who have problems calling by phone to speak to a volunteer. The complaints are captured in a national database and some information is conveyed to election authorities. The phone programs do not have mapping or SMS capabilities. How to effectively monitor a large number of poll sites seems to be one that crowd sourcing with mapping and SMS tools can help address.
Faye Anderson commented
Great idea! I presented the same problem at last weekend's Random Hacks of Kindness Philadelphia.
Yo! Philly Votes is developing an Ushahidi-powered dashboard to aggregate multiple sources of real-time Election Day incident reports, including Our Vote Live. Please check out my storfied post about the project [http://storify.com/andersonatlarge/yo-philly-votes].
I'm registered for the hackathon but a conflict has arisen. I'm attending PDF12 as a Tumblr Fellow. So if you're around, let's talk.