PdF Brings Election Crowdsourcing to Mexico via 10Questions
BY Daniel Teweles | Tuesday, May 3 2011
Full Disclosure: In my role as PdF's VP of Business Development and Marketing, I manage the 10Questions platform and its international expansion. If you're interested in using 10Questions in your election, I'm the guy to talk to!
The past two election cycles in the U.S. have seen crowdsourcing technology used to bridge the gap between candidates and the voting public, helping critical and overlooked issues gain the attention voters thought they deserved and, in some cases, refocusing the lens of the media's coverage and engaging the previously unengaged.
Now, three years after the launch of 10Questions, PdF's online election crowdsourcing platform, during the 2008 presidential primaries, crowdsourcing is truly global. While crowdsourcing technologies come in all shapes and sizes, 10Questions was specifically designed around elections, and as of last week, it is being used ahead of the gubernatorial election in Mexico's federal state of Mexico.
The effort, called 10Preguntas, is being spearheaded by Elephant Publishing's Animal Politico, Mexico's award winning equivalent of Politico. According to Elephant Publishing's President, Daniel Eilemberg, "Animal Politico is investing in crowdsourcing around the election with the hope of eventually taking this technology to the whole of Latin America." He continued, saying "Mexico is having state elections this year and presidential elections next year, so the electoral calendar makes sense to launch the project and test it now, ahead of doing it again next year for an even bigger impact."
A large part of 10Questions's success in each instance has been due to media partners who both publicize the platform and use it as an innovative online tool to engage with their readers. 10Preguntas is no different, partnering with MTV Mexico and cable news outlet Milenio TV, both of whom will soon begin airing commercials inviting the public to submit and vote on questions for incumbent Enrique Pena Nieto (an early Presidential favorite in the 2012 contest) and his challengers. This marks the second instance of 10Questions in Latin America, as it was used during last year's presidential election in Brazil; it was called 10Perguntas, and was used by thousands of Brazilians to ask and vote on over 600 questions for the candidates.
The 10Questions platform was conceived by Personal Democracy Forum and David Colarusso of Community Counts in 2007. In 2010, with support from The Knight Foundation and in partnership with Google and YouTube, we updated the underlying platform to enable its use across multiple races as a fully customizable platform. 10Questions is a democratic medium that allows anyone, regardless of influence or power, to directly interact with the candidates running to represent them as well as to enable voters to reward politicians with recognition when they choose substance over soundbites.
We are continuing to work on refining the platform to allowinq anyone to submit questions (via text or video) and vote on them. The top 10 questions are then submitted to the candidates who answer via video. Their answers are then voted on by the public, thereby creating a feedback loop previously nonexistent in electoral politics besides Election Day.
The platform's transparency is bolstered by the geo-location data that displays where each question and vote come from, as well as Google enabled authentication that prevents the gaming of the system. The platform is continuing to evolve, with plans to incorporate SMS capability in the coming year as 10Questions ventures to yet another continent.