Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Harnessing The Power Of The Netroots
Now this is why Al Gore gave us the internet:
Last Friday, we got a couple of clues from a Stamford Advocate article as to how many of the 18,000 signatures submitted to get Joe Lieberman on the ballot were valid. The town clerks should have received the petitions on Monday, so by now, they should be able to tell us what they're finding.Amazing. Just amazing.
The down side is that there are 168 different town clerks to call. So follow me over the flip, and see how you can help pin down some hard numbers today, since hard numbers seem to be in short supply from our intrepid journalist corps... [...] It occurred to me the other day that Google Spreadsheets have some interesting possibilities for elections reporting - allowing for simultaneous, multi-user, online editing of spreadsheets into a template. I don't mean to be pimping google products here, but I thought I'd give it a try, and see if it winds up being practical for this kind of research project.
And damned if that wouldn't have been a lot more convenient on 8/8, when every reporting site on the internet was going down in flames - and several blog kids had the precinct-by-precinct returns as they were coming in.
If you have a gmail account, drop me a line at scvmatt at gmail, and I will send you an invitation to edit the spreadsheet. If you don't, or can't be arsed, you can visit this link and use an account I created for the purpose - login name is "dkos.spreadsheet" and the password is "metajesus". You can also just log into gmail.com with that name and password, and the invitation is sitting in the inbox. But then you get a generic name in the chat window there.
How this should work
This should start at 9:15am EST, or 6:15 PST. Give the poor secretaries a few minutes to get a cup of, erm, joe before asking them to dig up stats for you. Before you call, type your initials or your dkos UID to reserve the towns that you want to call after 9:15.
1) When you call, put an X in the "contacted" column so we know it's been done.
2) If you get someone, say that you're calling to inquire about the petitions submitted by the Joe Lieberman Senate campaign. Feel free to call yourself an independent journalist, or blogger if you're feeling lucky, and ask to speak to someone in the Clerk's office who can give you the number of submitted and confirmed signatures.
3) If you get punted to another office, or are told to call back at a different time, mark the relevant info in Column E - Followup Notes
4) Mark down each of the statistics, if they'll give them to you, in each of columns F-I. Be sure to ask if their count has already eliminated petition forms with invalid petition gatherer information, and if the number they've given you is the number that they will be sending to the Secretary of State to tally.
5) Make a note of the date and time that you updated the spreadsheet.
Alright, I hope a few of you guys are up and interested in this - again, email me at scvmatt [at] gmaildotcom if you want me to send you an invite.
If there's anything that needs to change, or if you have more exciting spreadsheet abilities than I do, comment here before the 9:15 EST and we can modify the template so it's as useful as possible. I understand that more complex auto-updating formulas are possible, and I'd be open to having an ambitious kossack set that up on the spreadsheet (use Sheet2 or Sheet3 to test) if you'd like.
I'll post updates here every so often after this thing gets started.
Al Gore introduced the legislation that made it possible for civilians to use the computer network originally created for the military. He had to push hard to get his fellow members of Congress to see the point, but eventually the bills passed.
Robert Kahn and Vincert Cerf give Al Gore full credit for making the Internet possible.
GINGRICH: In all fairness, it’s something Gore had worked on a long time. Gore is not the Father of the Internet, but in all fairness Gore is the person who, in the Congress, most systematically worked to make sure that we got to an Internet, and the truth is—and I worked with him starting in 1978 when I got there, we were both part of a “futures group”—the fact is, in the Clinton administration the world we had talked about in the ’80s began to actually happen. You can see it in your own life, between the Internet, the computer, the cell phone.
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