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The voting app “Votz" will be the first mobile phone app used in a U.S. political election. West Virginia voters that are currently overseas will be able to use the app to cast their votes in the upcoming November election.
The decision to allow voters to use this app is a controversial one with concerns arising that a mobile phone is not secure enough to be used in an election, but it's not the only new technology that is on the political horizon.
New political apps are being developed by the handful. Many of these apps were born out of a frustration for a lack of unbiased information, the need for a platform where people can stand up anonymously, and apps where people can effectively make and create change. Here are some of the apps that you will be seeing a lot more of in the coming months and beyond.
iCitizen: not interested in every aspect of politics but want to know what's happening with the topics you care about? iCitizen allows you to set up your news feed according to issues that matter to you (education, environment, etc.). This app also includes simple ways to get in touch with politicians through phone or email.
Politomix: when there's so much political news out there that you can't possibly read it all, Politomix is a good option. This app aggregates headlines from more than 30 unique sources so you can see what's happening without spending hours reading articles. The app also includes quick political podcast links.
The White House App: did you know that The White House has an app? You can see what's happening straight from the floor including headlines, press conferences, topics of debate, and anything else that Washington is hyped up about.
Congress+: if you want to get in touch with a member of Congress quickly (and read a little bio about them while you do it), this app is the best option. The app comes with direct links to Congress member social media feeds too.
Votz: as briefly mentioned above, Boston-based Votz is a new app based on blockchain technology and designed to make overseas voting simpler. The technology is new and West Virginia is the only state using it presently, but it will provide citizens that are overseas with a quick and simple way to vote in upcoming elections.
Combining technology with politics has mostly been viewed as a bad thing in the wake of potential political tampering through social media networks. But developers are starting to understand the important role that technology can have in giving people a voice, providing platforms to talk about important topics, and delivering real and honest news to those seeking information.
It's easier than ever to contact a politician through the tap of your finger or to anonymously sign a petition when backing a controversial topic. The difficult part of disrupting politics with technology will be keeping it out of the hands of hackers focused on finding weak links.