United States Electoral College - Wikipedia
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Due to a number of scandals, Cain withdrew just before the end of the year, after having gotten on the ballot in several states.
Obama, Facebook and the power of friendship: the data election | US news | The Guardian
A number of candidates dropped out at this point in the nomination process. Bachmann withdrew after finishing sixth in the Iowa caucuses,  Huntsman withdrew after coming in third in New Hampshire, and Perry withdrew when polls showed him drawing low numbers in South Carolina. He unexpectedly carried three states in a row on February 7 and overtook Romney in nationwide opinion polls, becoming the only candidate in the race to effectively challenge the notion that Romney was the inevitable nominee.
The Super Tuesday primaries took place on March 6.
Romney carried six states, Santorum carried three, and Gingrich won only in his home state of Georgia. Santorum won Kansas and three Southern primaries, but he was unable to make any substantial gain on Romney, who became a formidable frontrunner after securing more than half of the delegates allocated in March.
On April 10, Santorum suspended his campaign due to a variety of reasons, such as a low delegate count, unfavorable polls in his home state of Pennsylvania, and his daughter's health, leaving Mitt Romney as the undisputed front-runner for the presidential nomination and allowing Gingrich to claim that he was "the last conservative standing" in the campaign for the nomination.
On May 29, after winning the Texas primary, Romney had received a sufficient number of delegates to clinch the party's nomination with the inclusion of unpledged delegates. After winning the June 5 primaries in California and several other states, Romney had received more than enough pledged delegates to clinch the nomination without counting unpledged delegates, making the June 26 Utah Primary, the last contest of the cycle, purely symbolic.
Facebook is also being seen as a source of invaluable data on voters.
United States elections - Wikipedia
The re-election team, Obama for America, will be inviting its supporters to log on to the campaign website via Facebook, thus allowing the campaign to access their personal data and add it to the central data store — the largest, most detailed and potentially most powerful in the history of political campaigns.
If was all about social media, is destined to become the "data election". The team draws much of its style and inspiration from the corporate sector, with its driving ambition to create a vote-garnering machine that is smooth, unobtrusive and ruthlessly efficient. Already more than geeks, some recruited at top-flight university job fairs including Stanford, are assembled in the Prudential drawn from an array of disciplines: At the core is a single beating heart — a unified computer database that gathers and refines information on millions of committed and potential Obama voters.
The database will allow staff and volunteers at all levels of the campaign — from the top strategists answering directly to Obama's campaign manager Jim Messina to the lowliest canvasser on the doorsteps of Ohio — to unlock knowledge about individual voters and use it to target personalised messages that they hope will mobilise voters where it counts most.
Every time an individual volunteers to help out — for instance by offering to host a fundraising party for the president — he or she will be asked to log onto the re-election website with their Facebook credentials.
United States Electoral College
That in turn will engage Facebook Connect, the digital interface that shares a user's personal information with a third party. Consciously or otherwise, the individual volunteer will be injecting all the information they store publicly on their Facebook page — home location, date of birth, interests and, crucially, network of friends — directly into the central Obama database.
The potential benefits of the strategy can already be felt. The Obama campaign this year has attracted about 1. At this rate, Obama is also well on the way towards staging the world's first billion-dollar campaign. Under its motto "Bigger, better, ", the Chicago team intends between now and election day in November to create a campaign powerhouse which will allow fundraisers, advertisers and state and local organisers to draw from the same data source.
Joe Rospars, the campaign's chief digital strategist, told a seminar at the Guardian-sponsored Social Media Week that the aim was to create technology that encourages voters to get involved, in tune with Obama's emphasis on community organising.
Campaign insiders say that the emphasis this year will be on efficiency more than any headline-grabbing technical wizardry. But that should not obscure how significant this year's presidential cycle will be in putting to the test the first custom-made digital campaign. Mark Sullivan, founder of Voter Activation Network, which manages the Democratic party's central database of voter information known as Vote Builder, says that "what we will see in will make look really primitive".
Judith Freeman of New Organizing Institute, who worked on both John Kerry's and Obama's presidential campaigns, says there is a leap forward in technology every presidential cycle, and would be no exception.
2012 United States elections
Yet in fact, the separation of its data on voters into several distinct silos forced high-level staffers to spend hours manually downloading information from one database to another. This year the Chicago team hasn't knocked down the walls so much as dispensed with them altogether.
They have built from the ground up a unified database that incorporates and connects everything the campaign knows about a voter within it.
Rospars said that in they no longer had to try to integrate data in the campaign. Jeff Chester of the digital advertising watchdog Center for Digital Democracy, which has been calling for regulators to review the growth of digital marketing in politics, said that "this is beyond J Edgar Hoover's dream. In its rush to exploit the power of digital data to win re-election, the Obama campaign appears to be ignoring the ethical and moral implications.Best Dating Sites in USA
The Obama database incorporates Vote Builder, a store of essential information such as age, postal address, occupation and voting history drawn from the voter files of million active voters. It lines up and matches those voter files with data gathered from online interactions with the president's supporters — notably the millions of pieces of information its army of canvassers collected across the nation during the race, a list of email addresses of supporters that it has amassed and that now stands at about 23 million, as well as the contact information of Obama's 25 million Facebook fans.
Facebook itself has been transformed as a political campaign tool sincesimply by dint of its exponential growth. Four years ago there were about 40 million Facebook users in the US; now there are more than million — incorporating almost the entire voting public. The significance of the fusion of Facebook and voter file data is hard to overemphasise. The messages can be honed to a particular demographic — age, gender, etc — as well as set of interests, and targeted on the most hotly contested parts of the most crucial battleground states.
Teddy Goff, the digital director of the re-election team, told Social Media Week that as the year progresses there would be more and more "persuasion through interaction". Individual voters would be given access to digital platforms from which they will be able to tell their own stories "and that's far more powerful than anything we can say", Goff said.
People's own stories really moves votes. An Obama message would be crafted so that "not only can it be passed to your friends but to those friends that we think are most in need of passing it on to".
The bottom line is that if you are sent a message from your Facebook friend encouraging you to turn up to an event or donate to Obama, you are vastly more likely to respond than if the request comes from an anonymous campaign staffer.