Loads of initiatives have been created with the sole purpose of getting younger generations to vote. Those jaded, apathetic youths, nevertheless, consistently have a lower turnout, and “Rock the Vote” and other incentives haven’t been able to bring them to the polls. Could check-ins soon do the trick?
Today, Foursquare announced an initiative called “I Voted,” a real-time tracker of users checking in at polling stations around the country. When users vote, they’ll earn an “I Voted” badge and can give a shout out for their civic participation through an #ivoted hashtag. What’s more, the information will be available online in a sleek map visualization that can be broken down by location (state, city, neighborhood) and even gender. The data will be gathered from 107,000 polling stations.
Developed in partnership with Rock the Vote, the Pew Center, and Google, the project aims to give insight into voting demographics, but more so, to serve as an example of the impact Foursquare and geo-location services can have on elections. The New York-based company boasts 4 million users, around 60% in the U.S. The site, which will go live on Nov. 2, will act as a test run for the next presidential race.
“In 2012, we’ll be able to provide more valuable demographic information because our user base will hopefully continue to grow,” Foursquare’s Erin Gleason told Politico.
The “I Voted” initiative marks not just another democratic platform in social media, but another instance of the potential for geo-location in politics. Recently, Foursquare competitor Gowalla launched a similar initiative aimed at getting more people involved in campaigns, offering stamps and badges for their participation and support.
Hopefully both services help increase the paltry voter turnout of younger generations. And in the case of Foursquare, perhaps the service could one day soon help candidates actually become “mayor.”