Obama and Romney Camps Release New Smartphone Apps

Both the Obama and Romney campaign teams released new mobile apps today to help them reach out to voters.

Obama’s app, called “Obama for America,” focuses on grassroots organization by tracking users’ locations to allow them to sign up to volunteer or canvas in their area. The app then provides them with information about the campaign to do so, including how Obama’s policies affect their area. Responses can be reported and sent to a database at the president’s headquarters.

Stephanie Cutter, Obama for America deputy campaign manager, told reporters:

As we push through the last 100 days of this election, our focus remains on helping make grassroots organizing as easy and accessible as possible for the volunteers and supporters that are the heart and soul of this campaign … That’s why we designed our new app to help break down the distinction between online and offline organizing, giving every supporter the same opportunities to get involved that they would find in a field office.

In addition to helping users organize, the app allows them to post to Facebook, tweet campaign news and invite friends to campaign events. The app also includes blog posts about recent campaign developments and a link to donate to the campaign.

With an increase in voter ID laws, the app also provides hotline numbers for users to call if they have any trouble voting in the fall. The app is now available on iPhone, and will soon be released for Android.

Romney’s app, called “Mitt’s VP,” lures followers who want to be the first to know his vice presidential pick. The tactic is similar to Obama’s in 2008, when supporters were notified via text message of his vice presidential selection. The app promise to inform viewers of his pick "before the press and just about everyone else (except maybe Ann)," by blasting them with an alert. It will then allow them to share their thoughts on his choice via Twitter and Facebook, as well as provide them with a link to donate.  

Romney digital director Zac Moffatt said in a release:

Users of the app will be the first to get the news on the biggest political decision of the year through an instantaneous alert on the one device most people carry around the clock – their phone.

This app requires users to enter for their name, email address, phone number, address and zip code, which may be used in targeting people in swing states.

The app is now available on both iPhone and Android phones.

The new apps signify the increasing importance in mobile technology when it comes to elections. Politico reported that according to Nielson one in two cell phone users has a smartphone. Google also released data, which found that 83 percent cell phone owners are registered voters.

AlterNet / By Alyssa Figueroa

Posted at July 31, 2012, 4:10pm

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