Voting and Elections

TXT Out the Vote

Posted by BrettMeyer on Aug 27, 2007

Much was made of a poll conducted by Zogby International and Rock the Vote just before the 2004 Presidential election. The poll, taken solely over mobile phones, showed John Kerry with a significant lead over George W. Bush. The predictive failure of this groundbreaking poll may be due to the fact that while only 2.3% of the 18- to 29-year-old poll respondents said they did not plan to vote, U.S. census data shows that the actual turnout by the youngest voting blocks was much lower than the national average of 64%, with participation at a mere 47% among those age 18 to 24.

Texting It In: Monitoring Elections With Mobile Phones

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Aug 12, 2007

In Sierra Leone's national election today, 500 election observers at polling stations around the country are reporting on any irregularities via SMS with their mobile phones. Independent monitoring of elections via cell phone is growing aqround the world, spearheaded by a few innovative NGOs.

The story starts in Montenegro, a small country in the former Yugoslavia. On May 21, 2006 the country saw the first instance of volunteer monitors using SMS, also known as text messaging, as their main election reporting tool. A Montenegrin NGO, the Center for Democratic Transition (CDT), with technical assistance from the National Democratic Institute (NDI) in the United States, was the first organization in the world to use text messaging to meet all election day reporting requirements.

In Benin, SMS Election Observation and Lessons

Posted by admin on Aug 22, 2011

At MobileActive.org, we often write about mobile-based projects that other organizations and practitioners in the field carry out. We don't often highlight our our own mobile project implementations or discuss our own challenges and lessons, as many are sensitive in nature. Here, however, is a project we can talk about. 

As part of a USAID-funded project, MobileActive.org provides new media consulting to NGOs and independent media organizations in developing countries to enhance their communication and coordination efforts. We work in countries as diverse as Zimbabwe, Bosnia, and Peru, Egypt, Guatemala, and Serbia. Recently, we assisted an organization in Benin, West Africa, implement an SMS election observation project. 300+ trained observers took part in monitoring the presidential and legislative elections in March and April 2011.

In Benin, SMS Election Observation and Lessons data sheet 1418 Views
Countries:

The Mobile Minute: Crowdsourcing the Turkish Elections, Mubarak Fined by Egyptian Courts, and The Importance of Mobile Broadband

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Jun 02, 2011

[Updated with audio recording: If you'd like to hear this Mobile Minute in audio form, check out this podcast recorded by Ashiyan Rahmani-Shirazi @ashiyan]

Mobile Minute - 2nd June 2011 by ashiyan

Today's Mobile Minute brings you coverage on Egypt's ruling against former president Mubarak for cutting Internet and mobile services, the rise of online phone calls, the operating system with the most data downloads, an effort to crowdsource citizen reports from the upcoming Turkish elections, and a look at mobile web content and access in East Africa.

  • Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak has been fined $34 million by an Egyptian court for cutting access to Internet and mobile phone networks during protests earlier this year. Other Egyptian officials (former interior minister Habib al-Adly and former prime minister Ahmed Nazif) were fined as well, for a total of $90 million in fines among the three former leaders.
  • A new report from the Pew Research Center reveals that online phone calls are becoming much more common. The center reports that 5% of Internet users go online to make a phone call each day, and 24% of adult American Internet users have used the Internet to make a phone call.
  • Curious about which operating system users download the most data? Wonder no more – Android owners use roughly 582 MB of data each month, compared to Apple users who came next with 492 MB of data. The information, compiled by Nielsen, also found that although Android users use more data, iPhone owners downloaded more apps.
  • Turkey's elections are coming up on June 12th, and students at the Istanbul Bilgi University have launched a crowd-sourcing website in order to report on the election. Called CrowdMap, the site maps reports from SMS, email, Twitter, and other Internet sources to provide instant updates about the election outside of the mainstream media.

8000 Observers Report on Nigerian Elections via Text Message

Posted by MelissaUlbricht on Apr 27, 2011

One of the largest parallel vote tabulation efforts is under way right now in Nigeria to observe and monitor gubernatorial elections. Project 2011 Swift Count is observing the national assembly, state assembly, and gubernatorial elections with 8000 trained election observers. The observers are also working across six high-priority states to complete parallel vote tabulations to verify the official results in six corresponding gubernatorial elections.

At around 9pm in Nigeria on election day, MobileActive.org spoke with Chris Doten, senior program officer on the ICT team for the National Democratic Institute (NDI). When we spoke with Doten, two-thirds of trained election observers had sent in via text message final vote counts, meaning the final tallying was complete at that particular polling place. A much higher percentage of observers have sent in summaries of total ballots cast.

8000 Observers Report on Nigerian Elections via Text Message data sheet 2766 Views
Global Regions:
Countries:

The People, Projects, and Events That Made Last Year Great (Hint: YOU)

Posted by admin on Jan 04, 2011

Happy New Year from MobileActive.org! In 2010 we saw mobiles go mainstream as non-tech organizations the world over learned about the power of reaching users right through their phones.

From SMS donations in the wake of disasters to mobile health care, from mobile money transfers to mobile organizing, this has been a time of enormous innovation.  Read on for a few of the highlights of 2010 and some thoughts on what's to come in 2011.

Mobiles in the Wake of Disaster

The Mobile Minute: Polling Station Locator, Mobile Security Holes, and Nokia Expands its Rural Programs

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Nov 02, 2010

Today's Mobile Minute brings you the latest mobile news. Mobile Commons helps people find voting stations in the U.S. via SMS, Nokia pushes for rural users, NPR's mobile services win them an Online Journalism Award, and seven out of ten people store sensitive data on their mobile phones – without security measures.

  • Today is election day in the United States, so if you want to find out where your nearest polling station is, check out the Mobile Polling Place Locator by Mobile Commons. Text WHERE (for English instructions) or DONDE (for Spanish instructions) to 30644. You'll be prompted to enter your home address, and then be directed to your local polling center.
  • The New York Times reported on Nokia's Ovi Life Tools program, which uses basic text messages to transmit market and agricultural data to rural mobile owners. The program has already been successful in India, and now Nokia is gearing up to launch a similar program in Nigeria. 
  • The BBC reported on a study from security firm Juniper Networks that found bad news for users worried about mobile security: "In its research covering 6,000 participants spread over 16 countries, Juniper found that 61% of all reported smartphone infections were spyware, capable of monitoring communication from the device. A further 17% were text message Trojans that charge fees to a device's account holder." 

[Mobile Minute Disclaimer: The Mobile Minute is a quick round-up of interesting stories that have come across our RSS and Twitter feeds to keep you informed of the rapid pace of innovation. Read them and enjoy them, but know that we have not deeply investigated these news items. For more in-depth information about the ever-growing field of mobile tech for social change, check out our blog posts, white papers and research, how-tos, and case studies.

Image courtesy Flickr user QiFei

The Mobile Minute: Mobile Math Lessons, Dual SIM Card Handsets in India, and Egypt's Pre-election SMS Restrictions

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Oct 13, 2010

Today's Mobile Minute brings you coverage on mobile learning in South Africa, Egypt's pre-election SMS restrictions, Motorola's launch of dual SIM card handsets in India, a new mobile sensing tool, and India's extension of its deadline for banning RIM's BlackBerry services.

The Mobile Minute: The Winner of Apps4Africa, Skype on Android, UAE Cancels BlackBerry Ban

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Oct 11, 2010

The Mobile Minute is back with the latest mobile news. Apps4Africa announces its winner, Microsoft prepares to launch its mobile operating system, the United Arab Emirates doesn't go through with its proposed BlackBerry ban, political campaigns try to grow mobile campaign lists, and although Skype is now available on a greater number of Android phones, its not without its downsides.

The Mobile Minute: Mobile Web in the Aussie Elections, the Kenyan Mobile Price War, and Refugees Turn to Mobiles

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Sep 14, 2010

 

Today's Mobile Minute brings you coverage on Australia's record mobile web usage during the recent elections there, how telecom's price wars in Kenya have pushed down prices, why carriers may have raised the price of Google's Nexus One, a project Ugandan refugees using mobiles to find missing family, and competition for data-enabled handsets in Africa.

The Mobile Minute: How U.S. Adults Use Mobiles, Social Networking Via SMS in Nigeria, and a Dual GSM/CDMA Mobile

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Sep 10, 2010

Today's Mobile Minute brings you coverage on using SMS to access social networks in Nigeria, Organizing for America's new iPhone app that aids political canvassers, HTC's development of a dual GSM and CDMA phone, a pilot project that uses SMS to send information to pregnant women in Peru, and a Pew Research Center report on U.S. adults' mobile phone usage habits.

Mobile Minute - Daily M4Change News

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Jul 23, 2010

Today's Mobile Minute brings you news about the relationship between consumers and telecoms in Sierra Leone, potential problems with mobile phones for transparency in elections, law enforcement officials pulling evidence from iPhones, how international roaming charges were dropped in East Africa, and why geotagging photos may not be in your best interest. 

Mobile Minute - Daily M4Change News data sheet 1934 Views
Global Regions:
Countries:

Inventory of Mobile Data Collection Projects and Rapid Mobile Surveys

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Jun 22, 2010

The use of mobile phones for quick-time data collection is proliferating around the world. To get a better understanding of the scale and scope of these new data collection efforts, we partnered with UN Global Pulse initiative to conduct a survey of present and planned mobile data collection efforts. The survey results will help identify new, quick-time data sources.

The first findings of the global survey have been compiled in an inventory. The inventory is a living document that will be regularly updated as we become aware of new projects. If you are managing a mobile data collection project and you would like to have it featured in the inventory, please contact us or leave a comment. 

The inventory is posted in a Google Spreadsheet here: http://bit.ly/mobdatainventory.

We are also currently conducting for UN Global Pulse a mobile phone survey across multiple countries including Uganda, India, Mexico, Ukraine and Iraq. The survey is being conducted via text message and uses simple questions to understand how populations in different parts of the world perceive. We are drawing on our extensive network of partners on the ground to conduct the survey and will make the results publicly available (albeit in an anonymous and aggregate format). The survey is an exercise in rapid, bottom-up data collection. Questions in the survey focus on economic perceptions, including:

Cutting Through the Hype: Why Citizen Reporting Isn't Election Monitoring

Posted by admin on May 31, 2010

Recently, we’ve been seeing a lot of hype about citizen reporting with mobile phones during elections. It is often conflated with the term “election monitoring,” but this does a disservice to both citizen reporting and election monitoring, a discipline and field that has been around for some 20 years. These two approaches have markedly different goals, target audiences, and processes. We think it is time for readers to definitively understand what election monitoring is in contrast to citizen reporting, and what the role of mobile phone and mapping platforms are in regard to these two very different forms of engagement during elections.  We aim to clearly differentiate between them once and for all.

We also urge the adoption of  differing terms - citizen reporting during an election versus systematic election monitoring. Mobile phones, SMS, and mapping platforms play a role in both citizen reporting and election monitoring, of course.

Cutting Through the Hype: Why Citizen Reporting Isn't Election Monitoring data sheet 7007 Views
Countries:

Mapping SMS Incident Reports: A Review of Ushahidi and Managing News

Posted by MelissaLoudon on May 03, 2010
Mapping SMS Incident Reports: A Review of Ushahidi and Managing News data sheet 54226 Views

In this how-to, we test out two systems for SMS incident mapping. Incident mapping is a simple but powerful concept that does what it says - using SMS to report a given incidence and mapping the data geographically.

It has been used in various scenarios ranging from reports from natural disasters to tracking violent crime, citizen reporting in elections.


FAILfaire: No #FAIL but a Huge Success

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Apr 15, 2010

MobileActive hosted the inaugural FAILfaire last night, bringing together mobile technologists and NGOs to talk about failed projects in M4D and ICT4D.  Presenters talked about their failed projects, answering the questions: "What was the project?  What was the failure? Why did it fail? And what would you do differently next time?” 

The event was filled to capacity with more than 70 people. The five presenters made us think (and laugh), and the audience asked some great questions. For those of you who couldn’t be there, here’s a quick look at the failed projects presented at the first (of what we hope will be many) FAILfaire. 

Bradford Frost: MobileImpact.org? Not exactly...

Starting off the evening was Bradford Frost, who told the story of his failed non-profit venture, MobileImpact.org. The goal of his project was to bridge the gap between people trying to recycle used phones and developing countries. He felt he had a strong idea and a strong brand with the tagline “One phone. Change the World,” and that there was enough of an untapped phone recycling market (the current cell phone recycling market only captures about 25% of reusable devices) for the project to succeed.

However, the project didn’t work out as Frost had hoped. He used Facebook ads in order to target a younger, social media-savvy audience. He spent 1,000 dollars to launch an ad campaign and $5000 in a partnership with a phone recycling company. In the end, the non-profit gathered 131 phones valued at a sum total of …$252. And many of those phones were donated through word-of-mouth connections (friends and family) rather than people who saw the Facebook ads.

FAILfaire: No #FAIL but a Huge Success data sheet 3783 Views
Countries: