Romney campaign uses experimental mobile app to get out the vote

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Betsi Fores The Daily Caller News Foundation
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Mitt Romney’s campaign is rolling out its experimental mobile app for getting out the vote Tuesday.

Named after the killer whale, Project ORCA is an election day exit poll operation. Some 34,000 GOP volunteers in swing states will be taking exit polls and cataloging the results via smart phone or tablet.

“From there, data will be interpreted and utilized to plan voter turnout tactics on Election Day,” Romney press secretary Andrea Saul said. “Project ORCA also allows us to filter out people who have already voted, remove those people from our phone banks, and adjust our efforts nationally through this method.”

ORCA will be able to give the Romney campaign a clear picture of who is voting and how they are voting, in real time. For example, if they are down in a certain state mid day, they will be able to pinpoint precisely what is causing it. Alternatively, if they know they are up three points in another state, they can change tactics and concentrate on a county or state in which they are behind.

“In sum, Project ORCA will give us an enormous advantage by being able to know the current result of a state,” the campaign said in an email.

According to the campaign, ORCA will have deciphered how 18 to 23 million people have voted by the time the polls close.

The Romney campaign has a list of registered voters for each district taken from local voter rolls loaded in to the app dashboard. When voters check into polling locations, Romney poll watchers will click their name in the app, sending data to the national dashboard, headquartered in Boston.

Workers at Romney headquarters will then be able to discern which registered Republicans have not yet voted and then try calling them to improve turn out.

Saul describes the effort as “the Republican Party’s newest, most technologically advanced plan to win the 2012 presidential election.”

The idea was developed during the primary when the campaign was unable to use voter information they collected after the fact. “If we had access to that data earlier, we could have done something differently and affected the outcome,” Saul said.

Toward the end of the primaries, the Romney campaign went on a hiring spree, hiring former Google, Apple and Ominture employees to engineer a way to relay voter information from campaign headquarters to the volunteers and workers on the ground and leverage it to get better results.

The Obama campaign also spent money to leverage analytic data to garner votes. Their project, Dreamcatcher, uses word analytic data to better predict voters’ likelihood of voting for the president.

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Betsi Fores