Edd Wilder-James

Get the (Data) Vote Out

How data science is shaping governments and elections

Date: This event took place live on June 20 2012

Presented by: Edd Wilder-James

Duration: Approximately 90 minutes.

Cost: Free

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After Eisenhower, you couldn't win an election without radio. After Kennedy, you couldn't win an election without TV. Obama showed what's possible with social media. But in 2012, it's the data that will make the difference.

In this Strata Online Event, we'll look at the way data science is shaping elections, from visualizations to game theory, from understanding issues to targeting voters. In what promises to be a heated and controversial election year, get a glimpse into the data that's driving how we choose tomorrow's leaders.

Notes: Includes access to the recorded session after the live event

Edd Dumbill

Edd Dumbill is a technologist, writer and programmer based in California. He is the program chair for the O'Reilly Strata and Open Source Convention Conferences.

He was the founder and creator of the Expectnation conference management system, and a co-founder of the Pharmalicensing.com online intellectual property exchange.

A veteran of open source, Edd has contributed to various projects, such as Debian and GNOME, and created the DOAP Vocabulary for describing software projects.

Edd has written four books, including O'Reilly's "Learning Rails". He writes regularly on Google+ and on his blog at eddology.com.

About Alexander Howard

Alexander B. Howard is the Washington Correspondent for O'Reilly Media, where he chronicles how technology is being used to help citizens, cities, and national governments solve large-scale problems. He is an internationally recognized expert on the use of collaborative technologies in open government and digital journalism. Howard has written and reported extensively on the intersection of the Internet and society, including big data, open innovation, technology policy, cybersecurity, mobile health, open data, electronic privacy, and open source software.

In addition to the O'Reilly Radar, he has contributed to the National Journal, Forbes, the Atlantic, the Huffington Post, Govfresh, ReadWriteWeb, Mashable, CBS News' What's Trending, Govloop, and the Association for Computer Manufacturing, amongst others. He also maintains a global audience of more than 200,000 followers and subscribers on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Wordpress, YouTube and Google+.

Howard is a frequent public speaker, including talks at Harvard University and the National Congress of Brazil, and highly sought-after moderator and facilitator at conferences and workshops, including the Open Government Partnership, SXSWi, Stanford University, Columbia University, the New America Foundation, World Bank, Club de Madrid and the U.S. National Archives and State Department, amongst many others. In 2011, he was a Visiting Faculty member at the Poynter Institute.

Prior to joining O'Reilly Media, Howard was the associate editor of SearchCompliance.com and WhatIs.com at TechTarget, where he wrote about how laws and regulations that affect IT are changing, spanning the issues of online identity, data protection, enterprise security and risk management. He is a graduate of Colby College in Waterville, Maine.

Big Data in Politics: Mobile, Instant, Ubiquitous
Eimar Boesjes

A number of technical developments are changing how we work with voter data in elections but 2012 is not the watershed year. New non-sql database systems are complementing traditional relational database systems. With these systems instant high speed data retrieval of millions of records is now possible. Mobile devices have become ubiquitous and more solutions have come to market for mobile canvassing and mobile voter drives. iPads and Android tablets are becoming the mobile device of choice but they are still too power-starved to provide all the functionality that a laptop or desktop computer can provide. On the software front HTML-5, Node.js and Socket.io are making it possible to provide faster solutions that are much easier to use at lower costs. On-device data storage on mobile devices such as SQLite makes it possible to move data between servers and mobile devices whenever connectivity allows which means the devices can be used regardless of connectivity. Google Maps and Bing Maps allow users to visualize voter data on maps on devices from desktops to tablets and smartphones. Restful API's promise an easy way to tie all technologies together. However, all of these technologies are still in their infancy. Big changes are happening right now in the way that voter data and constituent data can be accessed and visualized on desktops and this is providing significant advantages to the early adaptors. The real sea change, however, will happen in two to four years when tablets will be much more powerful, high-speed Internet access will be more ubiquitous, the new technologies more mature and software companies have had the time to tie everything together. At that moment Big Data in politics will be mobile, instant and ubiquitous.

About Eimar Boesjes

Eimar Boesjes, CTO of Moonshadow Mobile, is a serial Internet entrepreneur and visionary who holds ten patents on Internet related technologies. Moonshadow Mobile has develop breakthrough technology to manage massive amounts of voter data visually right inside of Bing Maps. The technology is used in Labels & Lists VoterMapping software as well as in Ground Game, a mobile canvassing solution that works on the iPhone, iPad and on Androids.

Organizing Your Voting Power
Jeremy Dunck

Campaign advertising is an inefficient way to buy votes - but the voters themselves control the currency of elections. Campaigns control the message through broadcast mediums, but peer-based group-forming is becoming easier through social networks and collaboration tools. We aim to facilitate voter organization through voter identification, outreach, and influence. We expect this to reduce the influence of money in politics by providing a more efficient means of earning votes.

About Jeremy Dunck

Jeremy Dunck sees change as necessary for progress and uses computers as a tool for good. He was CTO of PegasusNews.com, an attempt to make local journalism sustainable through personalization of news and targeted advertising of local businesses. He has been active in the Django community since its release and serves as Secretary of the Django Software Foundation.

How will big data play a role in President Obama's
re-election campaign?
Amanda Michel, Ed Pilkington

Writing for the Guardian, Amanda and Ed have done some of the best reporting around on how the Obama campaign is using data. In this panel, they'll share what they've learned about how big data is being applied — and what's next.

About Amanda Michel

Amanda Michel is the Open Editor for the Guardian US and a co-founder of SparkCamp, an unconventional journalism unconference. Previously she worked at ProPublica, a nonprofit investigative newsroom, and the Huffington Post, where she directed OffTheBus, the site's ground-breaking citizen journalism election coverage.

Michel got her start working on campaigns. She directed Howard Dean's youth organizing effort Generation Dean and belonged to John Kerry's Internet team. With Kerry colleagues in 2005 she helped set up the New Organizing Institute in Washington, DC., the leading training institute for activists and techies on the left.

About Ed Pilkington

Ed Pilkington is the Guardian's New York correspondent. He is a former national and foreign editor of the paper, and author of Beyond the Mother Country.

Big Data and Democratic (R)Evolution
Clifton van der Linden

Big Data can provide historically unparalleled opportunities for citizens to be their own voice in government. For decades the tone and tenor of public opinion has been conveyed by polls, which have become powerful tools for mobilizing politics and policy. But the methodological principles which underlie conventional polling techniques are increasingly challenged by the widespread adoption of new information and communications technologies. Efforts by public opinion researchers to embrace emergent ICTs have been stymied by issues of representativeness given the selection bias inherent in online sample.

Big Data has the potential to overcome these issues and could thus affect a paradigm shift in public opinion research. A bottom-up approach using Big Data can yield richer, more robust insights into public opinion. Drawing on insights garnered from the implementation of Vote Compass™ during three recent elections, a case will be made for a fundamental rethink of how public opinion is analyzed during an election campaign, and how Big Data has the potential to revolutionize citizen participation in politics.

About Clifton van der Linden

Clifton van der Linden (@cliffvdlinden) is a political scientist and founder of Vote Compass™, an interactive electoral literacy application that is run during election campaigns. He was previously a reporter for the Financial Post and an information technology consultant in both the financial and public sectors.

What's the state of the data-driven campaign?
Patrick Ruffini

We'll talk to Patrick about the Republican candidates for president, the data in their campaigns and how Governor Romney is gathering and analyzing data, now that the nomination is in his grasp.

About Patrick Ruffini

Patrick Ruffini is president at Engage, a digital agency with clients including Fortune 500 companies, Presidential and statewide candidates, technology startups, and issue advocacy campaigns.

As a leader in digital politics over the last decade, Ruffini's work has helped elect a President, changed the direction of powerful institutions, and resulted in millions of signups, tens of millions of dollars raised, and thousands of blog and media mentions.

Ruffini has shaped digital strategy for national candidates in each of the last three elections. From 2005 to 2006, Ruffini served as eCampaign Director for the Republican National Committee. In 2004, Ruffini was one of the earliest members of President George W. Bush's re-election team, helping recruit and mobilize more than six million online supporters.

Today, Ruffini is most passionate about helping causes, candidates, and brands mobilize their supporters to action. Blending national campaign experience with an eye towards technology and design, he has guided the development of industry-leading products at Engage, including Multiply, which measures and rewards action taken by fans across a multitude of online platforms, including social media, e-mail and websites.

Voters Getting The Power of Data During Recent Elections
Simon Rogers

In this not-to-miss talk presented by Simon Rogers, Editor of Guardian.UK, he will talk about the voters getting the power of data during the recent elections. Simon will discuss what politicians say and give us access to really detailed voting patterns. In particular, we will look at recent elections in the UK, with a bit of France and Greece.

About Simon Rogers

Simon Rogers is editor of the guardian.co.uk/data, an online data resource which publishes hundreds of raw datasets and encourages its users to visualise and analyse them. He is also a news editor on the Guardian, working with the graphics team to visualise and interpret huge datasets. He was closely involved in the Guardian's exercise to crowdsource 450,000 MP expenses records and the organisation's coverage of the Afghanistan and Iraq Wikileaks war logs. He has edited two Guardian books, and in 2010, Simon received a special commendation from the Royal Statistical Society in its awards for journalistic excellence. His Factfile UK series of supplements won a silver at the Malofiej 2011 infographics award and the Datablog won the Newspaper Awards prize for Best Use of New Media, 2011. In 2011, Simon was named Best UK Internet Journalist by the Oxford Internet Institute, Oxford University.