June 06, 2006

Electoral politics, meet Skype 

posted by Paul Smith @ 3:43 PM
Today I placed calls as a volunteer of MoveOn.org on behalf of Francine Busby, the Democrat running in the special election for the Dukestir's seat, the California 50th. (The Fightin' 50th!) For about an hour I called voters in the district and reminded them to get out to the polls. I have a mobile phone but no landline, and I don't particularly like my mobile, so I went with Skype and it's newly free service, SkypeOut, which lets you call plain old telephone numbers in the U.S. from your computer. MoveOn presents you with a nice web application that guides you as you go through each call, a page for each voter with name and number, along with buttons to follow if they respond, if you reach an answering machine, if there's no answer, et cetera. I simply cut'n'paste the phone number for each voter into Skype, no tedious manual dialing like a sucker. In fact, MoveOn could make it even easier if they included Skype's callto:// links right in the voter info pages (for instance, 202-456-1414), so that you could just click and Skype will make the call. But that's easily fixed: if Firefox is your browser, and you have the Greasemonkey extension, this user script will convert phone numbers into SkypeOut links.

I might do another round to catch the nine-to-fivers coming home. Then sit back and watch the results. Should be an interesting night.

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