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Only true election and poly sci fanboys will enjoy this post


Syllabification: (fan·boy)
Pronunciation: /ˈfanˌboi/

An extreme fan or follower of a particular medium or concept, whether it be sports, television, film directors, video games, etc.

Yes. That’s me. I follow politics. I’m an extreme fan of elections and love talking strategy, candidates, and poll numbers – and just about anything else that connects somehow with the process. I’m an election fanboy.

So I’m probably one of a very small group of election geeks who cares much about yesterday’s presidential election.

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Technology and 21st century elections

Negative ads. Political mud-slinging. Character attacks by supporters of various candidates. Dirty tricks. Personal insults. Outrageous newspaper editorials. Predictions of national collapse and disunity.

Yeah. Elections can be rough. Imagine if it was this bad in 2012, rather than the election of 1800. John Adams was running for re-election against the challenger Thomas Jefferson. And it was not pretty. But the election of 1800 is interesting not so much for its ugly of its temperament or even the change in the Constitution that it caused.

It’s interesting to me because this was one of the first elections in which new technology, the use of newspapers as a part of the campaign process, became widespread.

And while the mudslinging hasn’t really changed that much, the technology has. It’s a different world than Jefferson’s – one full of social media, internet ads, Twitter, texting, email / online campaign contributions, and instant video are creating a different sort of election process. The infographic below highlights some of these changes. Read more

7 great places to watch the election

For political junkies like me, this is Super Bowl week. If you haven’t noticed, the 2012 election is tomorrow. Yes. Tomorrow.

I’ve been loving all of the online / TV coverage of polls, events, speeches, fundraising, and pundits. And I’ve been just a little freaked out.

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Rand McNally’s Play the Election

Rand McNally has partnered with ImpactGames and iCivics to create a very cool election simulation that is perfect for engaging kids in the election process.

Called Play the Election, the sim is a free, collaborative, online tool that teaches students about the 2012 election and the election process through a series of games, resources and competition.

Students predict the election winners for each state on an interactive election map, and compare their predictions to their class and the country to see where they rank. The program also includes eleven digital mini-games that delve deeper into influential and battleground states, like California and Texas, and Ohio and Florida.

Play the Election includes thirteen lesson plans that support core concepts to grades 7-12, crafted by expert teachers specializing in government and civics – and all aligned to the Common Core and the National Standards for Civics and Government.

Teachers are administrators for the students in their class and have access to Lesson Plans and related teacher materials. Each student receives his/her own login as part of the class you create. You’ll find quick start guides for students and lots of resources for teachers.

All this and it’s free!

Tip of the Week – 2010 Midterm Election Resources

Many of you have asked for specific resources that focus on the upcoming mid-term elections. Hopefully this quick list of tools will help:

Democratic Party
Republican Party

Created by a teacher, you’ll find links and lessons to help your students participate and learn about American political elections with online tools from Google
“Sorting out the truth in politics”
Access. Analyze. Act
Discover the power of social media while promoting your students’ civic engagement
CNN Election Center

Monitoring the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players
FactCheck’s educator’s page
Originally designed for the 2008 election, this site does a great job breaking down election data
Electoral Vote
racks political polls for U.S. federal elections
Yahoo Political Dashboard
Same thing, just from Yahoo
FundRace makes it easy to search by name or address to see which presidential candidates your friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors are contributing to. Or you can see if your favorite celebrity is putting money where their mouth is
ThinkFinity Resources
C-Span’s Election Classroom
TeacherVision Election Lessons
Scholastic Mid-Term election resources

Have fun!

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Election geeks unite

Matt, Arnold, Jed

One of the few New Year’s resolutions that I’ve managed to keep is a commitment to watch the West Wing television series from start to finish. With just a few episodes left, I’m now on my third presidential campaign. And today, in West Wing world it’s Election Day. Congressman Matt Santos (Jimmy Smits) and Senator Arnold Vinick (Alan Alda) are vying for the empty seat left by two-term president Jed Barlett (Martin Sheen).

It seems appropriate. Tuesday of this week was primary election day in Kansas and other primaries took place yesterday throughout the country. Which meant that I was up late into Wednesday morning browsing through all the election return sites, blogs and online newspapers.

As a confirmed election nerd, it was just about the perfect evening.

The strategies and the conversations about where to campaign and who to target, where to spend the money . . . trending data, polls, ad campaigns, poster design – all stuff I enjoy.

One of my earliest election memories involves staying at my great-uncle’s house during the 1972 presidential election. Uncle Jim was an interesting guy to a ten year old. An old flintlock musket hung over the front door, right next to the “Get Us Out of the UN” bumper sticker – a big John Birch Society kind of guy. Even at that age, I knew that any mention of the SE Asian Domino Theory would set him off.

Throughout the evening, most of what I remember is Uncle Jim lamenting the fact that George Wallace would have made a much better president than Nixon or McGovern.

I was hooked.

Where do I go to get my fix? Lots of places but a few I like:

The good news? The fall general elections are already underway.

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