How Mobile Moves the Election
Both major presidential candidates have their own mobile apps. Donald Trump’s app, America First is available for both iPhones and Android phones. The app has functions that allows users to check in at events, contact other supporters, find events and find polling stations.
Hillary Clinton’s app, Hillary 2016, is set up as a game. Players get to work in a digital campaign office and can earn real and virtual prizes by completing actions and collecting points. Users can test their knowledge on campaign issues and coordinate with other supporters. The app is currently only available on iPhones. There is a sign up link on the Clinton campaign site to get a notification when the Android app is available.
Reaching People by Text
Both candidates also have text update services where you can sign up to get messages from their campaigns. According to a recent poll conducted by CallFire, roughly one in five adults prefers being contact by campaigns via text message.
The 2012 election was the first in which the Federal Election Commission allowed political campaigns to collect donations via text message. In that election, ten percent of people who donated to campaigns used mobile donation. Fifty percent of donors donated online.
Figures for 2016 donations are not yet available. Mobile device ownership has risen since then, with 92% of individuals owning at least a basic cell phone and 68% owning a smart phone. The 68% figure includes a small but significant number of people who did not own a laptop or desktop in the past, making mobile donations more common than ever. It is likely that people who did not have access to online donation in 2012 will be able to make the choice to use a mobile donation via text or an online donation on their smart phones in the current election.
What This Means in the Election
Mobile campaigning is still in its infancy, but will become more common as politicians learn how to harness this powerful communication tool. As candidates learn to use mobile to get news out, to raise donations and to get people out to vote, we’ll see a more informed populace that is more likely to hit the polls.