“I Voted”: A truly important Foursquare badge, for Election Day

“I Voted”: A truly important Foursquare badge, for Election Day

Every few years, we get the push to go vote. As campaigns have focused away from older generations and onto younger ones, Foursquare now joins the fray with an “I Voted” badge. Check in at your local polling place with the #ivoted hashtag and you’ll get one for yourself.

The idea is three-fold:

  1. Encourage civic participation through the distribution of the “I Voted” foursquare badge;
  2. Increase transparency by visualizing how many voters are checking-in, and at which polling locations
  3. Develop a replicable and scalable system to use for the 2012 Presidential Elections and beyond.

The third is especially important. Given how much weight is thrown to the thoughts of polls and analysts, this sort of data can open numerous doors. One door that’s immediately opened leads to really interesting data collection on persons using the #ivoted tag.

JESS3 built the elections.foursquare.com page using HTML5 and semantic components that will allow for real-time tracking of 108,000 polling locations across the US. From this page, information such as time, venue and gender can all be pulled together using the Voting Info Project. Why JESS3? On top of the company’s stellar work, it’s an area that hits close to home, according to JESS3 President Leslie Bradshaw:

“The age of social media truly impacting the political process is here; as an information design firm with roots in DC, helping bring this moment to life with a real-time visualization along side so many incredible partners is a dream come true for the entire JESS3 team.”

For now, only a landing page that you see above is in place. However, the full site will go live on November 2nd for Election Day and the data should start pouring in. What will it look like? Something like this:

The thought is that, as people check in at their polling place, we’ll get a representative view of voting across the US. Combining HTML5 with the Voting Info Project and OpenStreetMap, JESS3 and Foursquare are giving us something that has the possibility to give better results than what we’ve ever seen in the past.

The question comes down to use, and it’s a question that only you can answer. Will you check in and use the #ivoted tag on Election Day? There’s a Foursquare badge in it for you, and you can have the pleasure of knowing that you got your hands on it the first time it was available.

Lots of respect is due to Foursquare, JESS3 and the other partners for the project. It’s an important cause, and one that only we can influence.

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