OK, folks, I’ve spent the last couple of days looking around online for a few of the best mobile apps for the upcoming election. Want to know where you vote? Unaware of the candidates in your district? Need to find out all the ballot issues you’ll be voting for? Want to check the truth or bias of statements made by government officials or candidates across the country?
There are A TON of apps out there that you can use to get such information. What I’ve done below is taken a little time to check the authenticity and depth of the available apps for such purposes. I’ve listed three of them below and detailed what you can expect to get from each one. Take a look choose the app that best suits your style or purpose. Enjoy!
1. PolitiFact (www.politifact.com or download in the iTunes app store) – by far, my favorite! This site, which is COMPLETELY non-partisan (it skewers both Democrats and Republicans!!), does all the fact-checking for you. PolitiFact takes actual statements made by Mitt Romney, President Obama and others, then analyzes them against the facts. Each statement is then assigned a score on their Truth-o-Meter, ranging from “Pants on Fire” (a total lie) to “True” (all correct). PolitiFact even goes as far as to label statements in the Flip-Flopper category (hello, Romney!). I have used this website and app for a couple of years now, and it has never been partisan or incorrect in its judgements. This truly is a place where both Republicans and Democrats can find the unfiltered truth (or lies) behind what our government leaders say.
TheLeftyWolfe Score: 5 out of 5 stars…although the content is mostly limited to verifying the accuracy of candidate statements, it does so in a completely non-partisan, factual way. It does what it should in the best way possible.
2. VoterHub (www.voterhub.us or download for Android in Google store; this app is not yet available for Apple products) – I came across this app after reading an article on it online. VoterHub claims to provide a plethora of rich information about this election season, from finding your local polling place, registering to vote and learning new information about your chosen candidates, as well as updated general information concerning Election 2012 (both national and local). After browsing around this site for a few minutes, though, I must admit that I am a bit underwhelmed. Of the ten different functions on this website, a couple didn’t even contain content (ex. the “Ballot Information” tab was completely blank. Another tab, titled “Find Candidates” was just OK. While it did contain a list of all the candidates for various offices in my local district, when I clicked on several of the candidate’s names, I was only provided with very basic info, such as their education, past jobs and government positions, both past and present). Overall, this app is completely average. There is some good info, but not nearly enough. It could be a lot better. I wonder if Yahoo! actually tested this website/app before writing a highly favorable article on it? I think not. Makes me wonder if that article on Yahoo! was simply a paid advertisement taking the form of unbiased journalism? Me thinks I smell a rat!
TheLeftyWolfe Score: 2.5 out of 5 stars…while the concept for this is great, the execution is not. There is far too much empty space on this site/app for it to be compelling and drive repeat web traffic. You really could use every single feature of this app in one visit and not need to go back again. This site reminds me of the new Apple maps app on the iPhone…it was launched too early and is far inferior to even the most average apps out there.
3. NBC Politics (www.nbcpolitics.nbcnews.comor download in the iTunes app store) – this visually rich, multimedia experience is unlike either of the apps I’ve already reviewed above. Since it is operated by NBC, it has access to a very wide array of info concerning this election. Not only does NBC Politics provide the latest news and headlines, it also gives the reader full candidate biographies and the latest video from recent campaign appearances. My favorite part of this app though, lies with the interactive maps that it provides. There are two maps you can play around with on this app/website: “one that shows real-time results from primaries and, eventually, the general election, and another that’s a game-based election simulator.” Sounds like fun!!
“The real-time results map is visually inviting and simple to use, although the county-by-county results pull down from an outside web page, which can feel awkward and is occasionally buggy. However, if the data gets updated promptly on election nights, it could prove to be an excellent poll-watching tool.”
“The simulator presents a national election map, then challenges users to guess which way each of the 50 states will lean – heavily Democrat or Republican, slightly Democrat or Republican or neutral. Depending on your guesses, either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney is bestowed the presidential seal.”
TheLeftyWolfe Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars…Due to the interactive features of this app, I really fell in love with it. It can be your one-stop shop for all things related to Election 2012. Additionally, the app has been optimized for use on phones or tablets, which makes it look and feel great on either platform. Finally, you can also use this app to post articles and other information right from the app to your Facebook or Twitter feeds. Very cool!