2.0 election stuff that really helps people, not just impresses them
November 4, 2008 2:16 PM   Subscribe

Examples of good web/election widgets to show to librarians this upcoming week? I'll be speaking at a conference this week talking about, among other things, Web 2.0 stuff. I'm looking for some good topical examples to briefly highlight.

One of the best arguments for supporting public libraries in the US is that they're necessary for a functioning democracy, that it's important that people be able to freely research topics of interest so that they can become informed voters. There's upsides and downsides to this approach but I feel it's generally solid. In the library world there's also a lot of "well I don't really think this 2.0 stuff helps us do our jobs" attitude, especially in rural areas like the one I live in.

What I'd like to do is put together a small set of easy-to-understand web-based examples of 2.0 types of tools being used to help further our democratic ideal, regardless of the outcome of this election. So I'm not so much looking for "this helps us get out the vote for Candidate X" but something like "This application lets you type in your address to find your polling place" or "this lets you get information about how much money people in your zip code spent on Candidate X versus Candidate Y"

I'm looking for simple and practical. Eye candy with little useful application won't be as great. Extra points for libraries using any of this stuff. I'll be poking around on my own but figured people here might be more up on this sort of thing than I am. Thank you.
posted by jessamyn to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Our very own lupus_yonderboy has been slaving away at Google working on a Google Maps voting plugin.
posted by onalark at 2:42 PM on November 4, 2008

This is a cool electoral map widget that lets you put electoral-vote contests on your site, or even just add the ability to play around with the states, tilting them this way and that to see who gets to 270 first.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 2:52 PM on November 4, 2008

while we're at it, the Google 2008 U.S. Election page is amazing.
posted by onalark at 3:14 PM on November 4, 2008

posted by geos at 5:34 PM on November 4, 2008

HuffPo has a great page of embedded map widgets for election results; I think I've seen a few presentations on Slideshare on Web 2.0 and the future of libraries and how they can work - you know, like case studies. I'll see what I can find...
posted by rmm at 8:56 PM on November 4, 2008

Don't know if this is what you're looking for: The Obama website had the most awesome polling location lookup I've seen. When my State Board of Elections couldn't locate a polling place based on address, the Obama website found it in a flash and even listed several folks who were willing to drive people to the polls. Now, that was impressive.
posted by mightshould at 6:37 AM on November 5, 2008

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