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Top 10 Kick-Ass Election Sites

These social networks and websites (and many others) are the best thing to come out of this election!

by David Julian Wightman

This may not be the “social media election” but the growth of a grassroots social movement for democracy has seen hundreds of thousands of Canadians finding their election news on social media sites.

The growth and diversity of social media outlets, vote mobs and YouTube activism is the best thing to come out of this federal election. And we think that's something to celebrate. Check out the sites that are informing and inspiring people on their way to the polls. And join the party!

1. Apathy is Boring
A national, non-partisan, youth-led charitable organization that uses art and technology to educate youth about democracy and encourage them to become active citizens. Founded in 2004.

Facebook “Likes”: 3,902

Facebook Post Views since March 26:

Must Clicks: Calls to Action and Music & Media (“The Apathy is Boring staff are huge supporters of the Canadian music scene and every month we introduce you to musicians and bands that are not only making great music but also contributing to their communities. Take a look at what they have to say about art, democracy, and their tips on what you can do to make a difference.”)

Hot Button: Getting out the youth vote!

Apathy is Boring on the importance of social media in this election: “Our generation does everything online, and that includes learning about democracy. There are more than 5.5 million Canadians under the age of 30, and not all of them vote (yet) but they do use Facebook.”

2. Catch 22 Campaign
A cross-country, grassroots, multi-partisan, pro-democracy, volunteer, campaign which started in January 2010 to provide specific voting advice to help anti-Harper voters defeat as many incumbent Conservative MPs as possible. Founded in 2010.

Facebook “Likes”: 1,628

Facebook Page Views since March 26:

Website Visits since March 26: More than 62,000

Must Click: Catch 22 Ridings. “In these target ridings, strategic voting can make a difference!”

Hot Button: Vote strategically to defeat Harper!

Catch 22 on the importance of social media in this election: “The Catch 22 Campaign has been building a grassroots network to help defeat the Harper Conservative candidates because of their direction, policies and abuses of power. Using the Internet, telephone and good old fashioned face to face meetings to build this network, we are now communicating directly with voters in target ridings.” --- Catch 22 Campaign director Gary Shaul.

3. CRUSH aka UnseatHarper.ca
Canadians Rallying to Unseat Stephen Harper is a Facebook group-turned-website that believes “the Harper Government has lost its moral authority to govern and, as a result, Canadians should use the democratic levers available to them to unseat the Harper Government.” Founded in 2010.

Facebook members:

Website Visits since March 26: More than 35,500 (to UnseatHarper.ca)

Must Clicks: Harper in his own words. “Over the years, Stephen Harper has said a number of things that a great many Canadians would be shocked, and even appalled, to learn that they were said by someone who is now our Prime Minister.”

Hot Button: The Harper government has lost its moral authority to govern!

Secret Weapon: Online and newspaper advertising! “We are proud that we have been able to quickly organize and raise funds to publish ads in 16 different print newspapers in 8 ridings that have been deemed close calls in the election. We will likely get a few more ads done in the coming days too. Some info is available at our “Adopt a Riding” discussion on the CRUSH Facebook group.”

CRUSH on the importance of social media in this election:
“In addition to providing a way to form a community of like-minded people, social media provided the kindling that ignited the fire that launched our Web site (UnseatHarper.ca) and the fuel that allowed us to raise funds for print and online advertising.”

4. Fair Vote Canada
A multi-partisan national citizens campaign promoting fair voting systems for use in elections at all levels. Founded in 2000.

Facebook “Likes”: 4,536

Facebook Post Views since March 26:
Website Visits since March 26: 15,798

Must Clicks: Myths and Facts about fair voting and Proportional Representation, and The Solution: Fair Voting.

Hot Button: Electoral reform!

Fair Vote Canada on the importance of social media in this election:
“If we want politics to be different, we need a vote that makes a difference.” --- Executive Director Wayne Smith

5. LeadNow
Bringing generations of Canadians together to take action for our future and hold politicians accountable. Founded in 2010.

Facebook “Likes”: 3,220

Must Clicks: Sign the Leadnow “Declaration for Change” and watch the brilliant I Am Canadian spoof “I'm Voting for Canada.”

Hot Button: Let Students Vote on Campus!

LeadNow on the importance of social media in this election: “Social media has played an important role in this election as both a way to spread messages and a way to organize. We've seen videos, like "Go ethnics go !?!!" or the ShitHarperDid.ca videos, get out messages that were being ignored by traditional media.

The key with videos like these is that they say something that a lot of people are feeling in a way that cuts through the noise, and then they share it forward to people who will learn something and maybe change their minds. Social media has also been invaluable as an organizing tool. The vote mobs relied on Facebook events.

And, when the University of Guelph ballots where challenged by the Conservative party, it was twitter that allowed us to get out a petition that racked up 3,600 signatures within hours. When it comes down to it, social media have provided an amazing platform for regular people to be heard.” --- Jamie Biggar, Leadnow co-founder. 

6. OpenMedia
A national, non-partisan, non-profit organization working to increase public awareness and informed participation in Canadian media, cultural, information, and telecommunication policy formation. Founded in 2008

Facebook “Likes”: 59,257

Facebook Post Views since March 26: 8,540,234

Website Visits since March 26:

Must Clicks: Vote for the Internet and the Stop the Meter Campaign.

Hot Button: Canadians want an Open Internet!

OpenMedia on the importance of social media in this election:
“My hope is that OpenMedia is helping engage Canadians (and especially younger Canadians) in this election. I also hope we are helping make the election more about issues and less about personality and negative attacks.

Beyond that I hope we are once again showing that when people join together and raise their voices, they can change politics. Social media is allowing people to connect with politicians and politics in new ways. It's making the whole process more accessible and real.” --- Steve Anderson, OpenMedia’s National Coordinator.

7. Pair Vote
Started as an experiment by Gerry Kirk, a Canadian who believes our voting system is a national disgrace and who decided to try pair voting in Canada as a way to draw attention to the vote reform issue. Founded in 2008.

Facebook “Likes”: 436

Website Visits since March 26: More than 20,000

Must Clicks: Voting intentions and swing riding, and voter stories. Find out how vote swapping works from the voters who’ve done it.

Hot Button: Strategically swap your vote!

Pair Vote on the importance of social media in this election: “Pair Vote exists because people care about democracy and want to make their vote count, in a system where 6 million votes elect no one. The Internet is the great equalizer for passionate citizens to organize and take back their power to vote.” --- Gerry Kirk.

8. Project Democracy
A tool to help you determine if there is a way to "amp up" your vote and stop a Harper majority. By using a riding-by-riding election prediction model based on the most up to date public opinion research, we can tell you which Party is best positioned to defeat the Conservative in your riding. Founded in 2008.

Facebook “Likes”: 3,364

Must Clicks: Key Contests to watch and participate in.

Hot Button: Strategic voting!

Project Democracy on the importance of social media in this election: “The most hopeful thing about this election is that powerful, post-partisan, independent content is mating with the connective tissue of social media creating the potential to go beyond online into real-world political outcomes like blocking a Harper majority.” --- Project Democracy co-founder Alice Klein.

9. Proud Fringers
A Facebook group for members of that “left-wing fringe group” women and their supportive brothers, to promote activist links, discussions, ideas and action. Non-partisan, it aims to engage more women in the issues that affect them. Founded in 2009, after Harper dismissed women, lesbians and gays, the disabled who seek equal rights as “left-wing fringe groups.”
Facebook “Likes”: 1004

Facebook Group members: 5545

Must Clicks: One of the best political Walls on Facebook and a sweet set of thumbnails and profile pic ideas on Flickr.

Hot Button: Women are not a fringe group! (link to the Toronto Star article that inspired the group)

Proud Fringers on the importance of social media in this election:
“The hope is that sites like this speak to young people and will break through and get them informed, and then into the voting booth. So far, it seems to be working!”

10. ShitHarperDid.com
Online phenomenon. Founded in 2011.

Facebook “Likes”: 32,451

Website Visits since March 26: More than 1.5 million

Must Clicks: Seriously Kick Ass Videos

Hot Button: Harper did some seriously bad shit!

ShitHarperDid on the importance of social media in this election: “We’re hoping to connect young, sexy single voters with a young, sexy, informed decision. Polls won't decide this election, the people who come out to vote will and there's gonna be a lot more young people this time around.” (X)
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