Skype and Federal Elections…

While the whole world knows that there is a U.S.federal election on November 4, little international notice has been given to Canada’s upcoming federal election, October 14. But both are providing significant opportunities to make use of the Internet. Emails, text messaging, candidate websites. Twitter feeds all are coming into play.

In a post on this morning, Elizabeth Woyke talks about “Skyping the Election”, where Skype is being used to connect campaign volunteers with voters and journalists with viewers.

Supporters of Sen. Barack Obama have turned to Skype, which processes both land line and cellphone calls over the Internet, in order to reach voters. In June, Elizabeth Edwards used Skype to chat with attendees of the Personal Democracy Forum, an annual conference on the intersection of politics and technology. In August, reporters from CNN, C-SPAN and NBC used Skype to report from the political conventions. And this weekend, volunteers in Santa Cruz, Calif., will use Skype-loaded laptops to target voters in Nevada, a key swing state.

The article goes on to quote Christopher Libertelli, Skype’s senior director of government and regulatory affairs. Most amusing was this comment:

Libertelli is, naturally, also interested in having Sens. McCain and Obama speak to each other via Skype. “There was that recent press cycle about whether McCain invented the BlackBerry,” he notes. “It would be interesting to see if the candidates know how to use Skype.”

As one who has known for ten years, and come to appreciate the genius of, RIM co-CEO Mike Lazardis (who wrote his original plan for wireless email in 1992 and is still executing on it), I can only chortle at the claims that surface in political battles. John McCain is no Mike Lazaradis.

Last Monday, in a public forum contributing to OneWebDay, Skype was used to help with a debate about presidential campaign tech policies. Chris Libertelli’s comments on net neutrality, the candidates’ positions and its role within the overall presidential campaign can be found here.

I’m still looking for examples of Skype use in the Canadian election campaign; I’m sure it’s quietly getting use in many ways by those candidates who have an enlightened appreciation for web technology.

About Jim Courtney

Bringing over thirty years' experience in the sales, marketing and management of cutting edge technology businesses.

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