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Election apps to help make your 2012 decision

Updated: Nov 6, 2012 11:21 AM EST
Pictured above: Foursquare’s I Voted app, left, and Electionary. (Image courtesy of Digital Trends) Pictured above: Foursquare’s I Voted app, left, and Electionary. (Image courtesy of Digital Trends)


By Natt Garun
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Yoohoo, it's election day. Do you still feel unprepared to tackle the voting booth today? No worries, that's what these helpful apps and widgets are here for. You still have some time to get extra insight on your political candidates this year, ranging from apps that focus on particular issues or ones to help you track poll results.

If you want to know where your politician's getting money from … use Wired‘s Who Bought Your Politician? widget

Remember how people flipped out when a news rumored that retailer Urban Outfitters CEO Richard Hayne may have been donating money to support Republican presidential nominee Rick Santorum? (PolitiFact confirmed Hayne did contribute some money, but not for the current presidential election). That vice versa mentality might be just as important to you when it comes to political candidates. Where are they getting their funding from? Who's supporting them, and do you support those companies and institutions as well?

If these things matter to you, consider Wired's Who Bought Your Politicians? app. You can search for politicians by name or state, and each has a list of total contributions received and a top 10 list of major benefactors so you know who has invested in your candidate. The financial figures come straight from the Federal Election Commission, so the information is always up-to-date.

If you're a social media enthusiast … use Twitter's Political Engagement Map

Social media plays a big role in this year's election as Twitter becomes a more prominent networking tool than ever. With the Political Engagement Map, you can check how each presidential candidate's tweets are received in particular parts of the United States. The top tweets are presented in vertical bar graphs that display the most popular tweet, and you can search for tweets with keyboards of specific issues.

Some of the results in well-known liberal and conservative states obviously show predictable skews, but in a toss-up state like Ohio, these tweets could show major turning points for voters active on Twitter.

If you're always considering the possibilities… use The New York Times' 512 Paths to the White House widget

How will the result of the electoral college from undecided state affect the outcome of the polls? The New York Times's 512 Paths to the White House widget tells you exactly how by offering you the opportunity to design your own path for Barack Obama or Mitt Romney's road to winning the election. Instead of doing your own math, the app provides a click and tree graphs that tells you how many ways a presidential candidate could win by narrowing down states that are still up for grabs. If you reside in one of these states, the app is a truly visual display of how you could be the game changer of the whole election.

If you want to show off your vote … use Foursquare's I Voted app

Foursquare isn't just useful for finding local coffeeshops and bars, it's also helpful for those searching for their local voting booths. The I Voted app will provide information about what you need to vote on in your state, where you can go to cast your ballot, and give you a Foursquare badge after you've voted so you can show your friends how you've taken part in American democracy. You can also check back to the app after you've voted to see how your local state is doing in comparison to the rest of America on a visual map, crowdsourced by Foursquare voters.

If you're all about proven track records … use CrunchGov's Policy Leaderboard

Technology policies are clearly important to you if you're reading this, so use CrunchGov's Policy Leaderboard to see which candidate's previous actions have been beneficial to voters like yourself. With the Leaderboard, each candidate is ranked from a grade of A to F on how their votes in the White House have aligned with the consensus interests of the tech world. Completely against Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), you say? The leaderboard will tell you whether a candidate has backed that policy so you can stay far, far away from voting for him or her, or vice versa.

If you're a political history junkie … use Electionary

If you're looking for every kind of data possible on vote counts, history, and percentages down to each county of a state, look no farther than Electionary for iPad. You can use the app to search for particular cities and find out voting data for past elections to see how the county or state has changed (or not changed) overtime. For those who've voted and are just waiting eagerly for the results, Electionary will be a good go-to source to track the polls without hearing anchormen debate and analyze the influx of raw data.

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This article was originally posted on Digital Trends

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