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Whoever Wins the Election, These 10 Political Startups Want to Change Politics

Political startups

In many ways, technology is inching its way into politics. Obama held a session on Reddit answering live questions. Everyone is keeping tabs on the Twitter buzz about candidates, including Twitter itself. People in New Jersey displaced by Hurricane Sandy can vote by email.

But in other ways, politics is still the same. A whole segment of voters don’t like either candidate, campaigns are run on slogans rather than substance, and people don’t feel their voice is being heard. The startups below want to educate voters and stir up real, informed debates. And then they want those debates to actually influence what happens in the White House.

Here are 10 startups that will stick around long after the polls close tonight.

Learn and Discuss

  • Ruck.us: A forum where you can find like-minded groups of people (or “rucks”) sharing information on interesting articles, petitions to sign, and events to attend.
  • Votifi: A forum to find information about politics, engage in discussions, and have your voice heard. When you participate and vote in Votifi polls, the platform learns about your preferences and can recommend articles to read and issues to follow.
  • Candi-Date: A site where you can build a personal political profile, find candidates that match you, and contribute to their campaigns. Candi-Date compares choosing an elected official to dating, pointing out that many people put more thought and “research” into their love choices than their political ones.
  • ElectNext: Like Candi-Date, this site helps you find politicians who share your values. It also sends you updates about issues you care about.
  • TurboVote: A service that helps you register to vote and vote by mail. You can also get election reminders so you don’t forget to vote.

Vote

  • Votizen: An online “get out the vote” tool, where individuals can encourage their friends to vote. Campaign managers can also use it to find interested supporters. Votizen has been monitoring the sentiment of registered voters for the 2012 election here.
  • Rock the Vote: This year, Rock the Vote’s “We Will” campaign helps educate young people on how to register and vote. They hope to catch young voters’ attention with nontraditional advertising. For example, Rock the Vote put NFC ads on bus stations (made by Blue Bite) that people can tap or scan to get voter registration information.

Influence

  • POPVOX: A platform that helps advocacy groups and other organizations get their opinions in front of Congress. Members can show their support for or opposition to bills, and congressmen can gauge public sentiment more efficiently than reading letters. The House Democrats have even included POPVOX on their intranet.
  • Change.org: A site with over 20 million users that lets you create petitions and get them signed. Topics range from animal rights to environment to health care.

Have Fun

  • Battle for Presidency: A fighting match between past presidents and today’s candidates. Bulked-up version of Washington, Lincoln, Obama, and Romney duke it out in a variety of sinister settings, spouting real quotes and decked out in caricaturish garb. Their goal is to engage young people in politics and even create spontaneous conversations.
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About the Author

Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact kira@tech.co.

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