sms and politics

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.

Guest Blogger Babar Bhatti on Mobiles in Protests in Pakistan

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Nov 16, 2007

Guest writer Babar Bhatti from State of Telecom Industry in Pakistan writes about SMS and mobile use for organizing in the recent turmoil in Pakistan:

TXT OUT THE VOTE: Text Messaging Increases Voter Turnout

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Sep 13, 2007

Text messaging works to get out the youth vote. Researchers from Princeton and Michigan Universities, together with the US Student Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) New Voter Project and Working Assets finally released a study of their text message mobilization efforts in the United States elections in November 2006. The fact sheet is here, the full study with the different forms of text reminders and outine of the methodology is attached.

The study found that text message reminders to new voters increased an individual’s likelihood of voting by 4.2 percentage points. This is an increase similar to "quality phone call" reminders but at a fraction of the cost, indicating that partisan and nonpartisan voter mobilization efforts need to urgently get on the mobile bandwagon.

Texting and Politics - The World Over

Posted by KatrinVerclas on May 16, 2007

In the United States, the political season is heating up and candidates are jumping on the mobile bandwagon. Hillary Clinton, Democratic presidential candidate, announced "Connect with Hillary" whereby supporters can get regular updates from the campaign via cell phone.  Meanwhile, another competitor for the Democratic seat, Senator John Edwards, is raising money for an ad campaign in the Washington Post, showing the support he garnered for ending the war in Iraq. The ad is here -- and noteworthy is the short code at the bottom of the ad - text "Iraq" to 30644 to show your support to end the war. (Thanks, TechPresident, for the pointer)


Texting to beat Zimbabwe censors

Posted by admin on Feb 27, 2007

_41705338_hiv203.jpg A private radio station broadcasting to Zimbabwe from the UK says it using text messages to beat the country's censors. The BBC reports.

"Broadcasts from SW Radio Africa, started by a Zimbabwean journalist in London to avoid the media crackdown, have been jammed for nearly two years.

W Radio Africa founder Gerry Jackson says the daily SMS headline service is proving popular with 100 requests a day from those wanting to join the service.

... So far about 2,000 people have signed up to SW Radio Africa's text scheme in the last two months.

The jamming has mainly affected the radio station's broadcasts to urban areas, where mobile phones are most popular. "

SMS delivers for Election Monitoring of the Montenegro Referendum on Independence

Posted by cspence on Jun 07, 2006

On May 21 the National Democratic Institute (NDI) provided technical assistance to a Montegrin NGO called the Center for Democratic Transition (CDT) that successfully monitored their country's independence referendum using SMS as the primary observer reporting tool. We believe this is the first time an election monitoring group has employed text messaging to meet all election day reporting requirements. Details about the program follow.

General Information:

  • Election monitors from the Center for Democratic Transition (CDT) in Montenegro conducted the first ever election monitoring project where SMS was used as the primary tool for reporting election information with NDI technical assistance.
  • 200 observers reported approximately 11 times each throughout the day including voter turnout and results data, transferring over 2000 reports to the reporting center in Podgorica. All reports were automatically entered into the reporting database where they were immediately included in analysis reports.



Did you get the one about the politician on your phone?

Posted by Bonnie Bogle on Jun 06, 2006

With the expansion of cell phone access and text messaging use, it was only a matter of time before it started – the SMS joke. And not surprisingly, few subjects are poked fun at more than local politics and of course the politicians.

"Da Vinci Code to be totally banned in the Philippines. GMA [Gloria Macapagal Arroyo] has been informed by Dan Brown that she is a direct descendant of Judas."

That’s one of the many SMS jokes being circulated throughout the Philippines making fun of the current president and her restrictive policies, among other things. Tonyo Cruz from TXTPower, and a MobileActive, passed on a bunch of the jokes that he’s seen sent around the country. You can read them all at the bottom of this post – thanks Tonyo!

The Philippines has been ahead of the curve in using cell phones for activism (remember the 2001 revolution and the Hello Garci ring tones), but SMS political jokes are spreading to other countries too. In Tamil Nadu, India, residents are sending out SMS jokes to make fun of the candidates from a recent election and their policies. One message circulating the region is an image of a candidate crying – supposedly showing her dismay at her party’s poor performance in the election. Another criticizes one party’s idea to give out “freebies,” saying that these practices will hurt businesses and make people lazy.

TXTPower brings gospel of mobile activism to Hong Kong's anti-WTO protests

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Jan 11, 2006

TXTPower brings gospel of mobile activism to Hong Kong's anti-WTO protests - On Dec. 16 at Victoria Park in Hong Kong, amid anti-globalization forums and protests left and right, convenors of TXTPower successfully mounted a meeting of mobile activists.

Nineteen souls gathered for the meeting, coming from Africa, North America and Asia. The meeting focused more on sharing the telecommunications situation on our respective countries and the challenges facing the individuals and movements using mobile technology for social activism.

Mobile Democracy

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Jun 05, 2005, the Korean news site on technology and the internet, has this little tidbit of an article:

21st Century's Democracy Comes From Citizens

The democratic movement in the Middle East, the democratic revolution in Central Asia, and China;s anti-Japanese protests. These events are weighty incidents that have shaken the world this year. Behind all these incidents are mobile phones and the Internet. In other words,mobile power; and Internet power; made people power.

If the print media led a modern revolution and TV pulled down the Berlin Wall, the thumb revolution,represented by text messages from mobile phones and the Internet, is currently destroying the wall of a controlled society after emerging as a new kind of political power.

Experiencing the recent candlelight protest around Gwanghwamun organized by high school freshmen, the rally against the impeachment of President Roh, and the group of extremely supporters of President Roh in the 2002 presidential election, Korea is already a developed country in terms of mobile phone demonstrations.