In addition to determining the leader of the free world, the presidential election showcases the profound advances media and technology can make in just four years. In 2008, mobile apps were just becoming part of the pop-cultural landscape and netbooks (rather than iPads) were expected to lead the market.
Today, there are nearly 1 million apps, many of which can help you on Election Day and keep you in the know when the returns come in that evening. Here are five best bets:
IntoNow from Yahoo!
Apps like IntoNow, which is owned by Yahoo!, go beyond just commenting on Facebook or Twitter as an election night companion. The app identifies and syncs to whatever program you are watching on television, allowing you to rate and interact with others over whatever you see on the screen. The elections dashboard lets you do things like predict who will win, rate and vet political commercials, and indicate whether you think a pundit's or candidate's statement is true.
Polls, of course, can change by the minute, but PollTracker by Talking Points Memo provides a breakdown of national and state polling for the presidential and key congressional races. The app lets users segment data by demographics and voting blocks, and provides history information and analysis of the candidates.
Super PAC App
Regardless of what side of the political aisle you hail from, the one thing we can all agree on is that there are too many political commercials. Independent groups not directly involved with the campaigns fund many appearing this year. Super PAC App uses Shazam-like voice recognition technology to identify what commercial you are watching at any point. From there, the app will provide information about the political action committee behind the campaign, and vet whether or not the commercial's claims are true.
Learn the biography, voting record, financiers and legislative activity of every member of the Senate or House. Also access contact information for all members and staff, as well as a directory of their social media presences, including Facebook pages, Twitter handles and YouTube channels. This is one app that allows you to carry your congressperson in your back pocket.
Settle It! PolitiFact's Argument Ender
Developed in part by the Poynter Institute, this app determines the accuracy of statements made by candidates, notable surrogates, officials and political commercials. Statements are labeled "True," "Kind of True," "False" or "Pants on Fire." This gamified version of the original Settle It! app quizzes users on recent statements and determines if they are "interns" or "wonks." It is a great app to have in a pinch to settle a cocktail-party debate or family dinner conversation.