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November 02, 2010
VoIP Technology Helps Politicians Reach Voters on a More Personal Level
By Beecher Tuttle, TMCnet Contributor
 

During the last few mid-term elections, a growing number of state and local politicians have begun utilizing new forms of technology to get their message out to a broader audience.

Most of the prominent political figures of the last election cycle, including Nancy Pelosi, Scott Brown and Sarah Palin, all used social media and other unconventional communication mediums to garner support and create more of an interactive relationship with voters.

This time around, Washington hopefuls are embracing Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology to gather pertinent information and connect with voters on a more personal level.

One such example of the power of VoIP campaigning involves Virginia’s 8th Congressional District, where veteran Democrat Congressman Jim Moran is taking on retired U.S. Army Col. Patrick Murray, a virtual unknown in the political world, according to a recent report by the Telegraph.

Moran, who has won the congressional seat 10 terms in a row, all in resounding fashion, was a heavy favorite heading into this year's campaign season. An initial poll showed that voters preferred Moran over Murray by a wide margin.

With significantly less funding than his foe, Murray decided to hold off on television advertising campaigns and instead concentrated his efforts on research and direct communication with voters, according to the news source.

Murray's team went out and purchased 30 VoIP phones and made thousands of calls a day to prospective voters in order to better understand their concerns. The Internet-based phones allowed volunteers to ask pre-arranged questions and digitally record voters' answers. The campaign team then used the information to structure the final 72 hours of Murray's campaign.

“In a very short period of time we were able to see the value of the VoIP technology," said Liam Maxwell, a reporter for the Telegraph who visited Murray's campaign headquarters and pitched in as a volunteer.

"Most importantly, after our calling was finished the campaign team could tell us in real time what impact our calls were having and how they were using the data," he continued. "Their feedback was available instantly and made us feel empowered about our contribution to the campaign. I can well imagine that the technology has a similarly powerful effect on the other campaign volunteers."

Moran and Murray are currently in a neck-and-neck race for the congressional seat.


Beecher Tuttle is a TMCnet contributor. He has extensive experience writing and editing for print publications and online news websites. He has specialized in a variety of industries, including health care technology, politics and education. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf


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