The Next Generation of Online Organizing

The Dean campaign was known for its innovative online tools. The Internet was a phenomenal way to get Governor Dean's message directly to supporters -- bypassing the media. Dean for America showed us that campaign websites could have life and vitality. Thankfully, we'll never see another stale, brochure-like website from a presidential candidate again.

Innovation often starts with a problem. DFA's upcoming grassroots organizing software was actually born out of a problem.

Democracy for America has outgrown its blogging software.

Blogging during the campaign was akin to cheerleading; a cacophony of voices, all shouting in support of a single common goal. A few examples from September 2003 comments (September to Remember):

"I'll be with all the house partyers in spirit tonight. Dr. Dean is the best thing to happen since the founding fathers wrote our Constitution and Bill of Rights."

"THE RIGHT WING MIGHT THINK THEY'RE IN HEAVEN
BUT SOON THEY'LL BE LOST AND DISHEVEN.
THEY MIGHT BURST A SPLEEN,
WHEN THEY SEE HOWARD DEAN,
IN BUSH'S FACE 24/7."

"I just contributed $10 to the campaign and it is the first time I have ever contributed to any campaign of any kind. I know it's not a lot of
money, but I still feel like I am a part of something really great happening in this country. GO DEAN!!! We will be there to support you
all the way. Keep being yourself and you will be fine."

"For each debate, we are the Dean Attack! site will count the number of times the Good Governor comes under attack. Then, like feeding the goal, not the troll, Deaniacs can contribute through the Dean Attack! site. Say, 50 cents per attack?"

The blog was great for cheering on our candidate and posting. The format lent itself to hundreds of voices talking about the same topic (Howard Dean) at the same time.

But now, two years later, our community is no longer united behind a single candidate. The Democracy for America community is filled with experienced activists who have sophisticated organizing skills. AT HQ, we hear often that members want to share information, collaborate on projects and organize within the community; however, collaborating on projects and organizing people is difficult among the constantly-moving threads with so much in-between chatter.

More inside the discussion...

Posted by TaraLiloia on October 10, 2005 at 08:11 PM | Permalink | Comments (39)

Is Your Right to Have Your Vote Counted at Risk?

My vote is my voice – but only if my vote is counted as it was cast.

Will electronic voting machines ensure that? Or will the lack of transparency, the potential for hacking, and the problems auditing the electronic vote raise more doubts than ever about the veracity of the results?

When you go to the polls to vote, are you more worried about how quickly your ballot is counted or about whether it's accurately counted?

Are you comfortable having voting systems outsourced to private firms?

Today in Washington, the bipartisan Commission on Federal Election Reform issued a report calling on Congress to require that all electronic voting machines have a voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) -- and to use that paper trail to audit the election results. 

Here in California, we have a Secretary of State and dozens of county elections officials who oppose such an idea because they're concerned that it will slow down the vote tallying process.

I know nobody likes to wait for election results, but should we choose speed over accuracy and transparency?

My opinion is that accuracy should be the first directive. The very legitimacy of our government depends on the right to vote -- and the right to have your vote counted.

I've written a bill (SB 370) that would require California's elections officials to use the voter-verified paper audit trail to conduct the 1% manual count required by state law.   

Will the Governor sign this bill?  Or will he follow the Secretary of State's advice and veto it?

I want to hear what you think we should be doing to ensure the accuracy and the integrity of California's elections.  I'll be here from 8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. EDT (5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. PDT) to answer your questions and chat about these and any other issues you may want to discuss. 

Debra Bowen, Chairwoman
California Senate Elections, Reapportionment & Constitutional Amendments Committee

Posted by Senator_Bowen on September 19, 2005 at 07:33 PM | Permalink | Comments (34) | TrackBack