Friday, July 2, 2010

Could you use Foursquare for get-out-the-vote activities?

Location based marketing tools/games like Foursquare are continuing to make inroads in consumer's minds. Will they be part of the next Presidential campaign's "get-out-the-vote" strategy too?

Jordan Raynor has a great post on TechRepublican on how his firm is helping one of Florida county's Board of Elections turn every polling site into a Foursquare location. That got me thinking about how a campaign or advocacy organization could use this technology to proactively turn out more voters. How could you integrate this with early and absentee voting?

First of all everyone should go here and sign the petition to get Foursquare to create a "I Voted" badge. Now hopefully they will embrace this effort to open their service to a whole new market of political application.

Next we should accept that some sort of Foursquare badge is not going to replace your whole voter turnout strategy. It should be looked at as a add-on to get targeted younger (25-35), tech savvy professionals who are probably some of the very same people who have horrible records of voter turnout.

  • What if a campaign was able to use fb and Twitter to identify all their supporters who used Foursquare? Then encourage them to cross-post their Foursquare checkin to all their social media platforms with a message like "I just voted early for Marco Rubio. How? Go here ...." the here might be a link to a campaign site that explains state and local law on how and when a voter can vote early or thru the mail.
  • What if the Walorski for Congress campaign had a Foursquare location for a early vote rally outside a courthouse or city office where supporters could checkin and let all their friends know they are voting early and how to do it?
  • What if a Congressman Aaron Schock skipped the photo op of voting on election day and voted early so his fans could say they voted on the same day as him and maybe post photos of them with him outside the polling site?
  • What if Organizing for America offered a free carton of cigarettes to the Mayor of each precinct to reward people for voting as many times as possible? Ok, maybe that one is not a good idea.
  • What if the Heck for Congress campaign offered  free VIP tickets to the next fund raiser to whoever was Mayor of their GOTV phone bank?
  • What if Gov. Mitch Daniel's campaign for President used Foursquare checkins to monitor who has already turned out and voted for him at Iowa Caucus locations?
I think the possibilities are incredible once creative, tech minded campaign folks start thinking about how this technology can make their job easier.

How would you use it?