Eight ways technology has shaped the US elections

From e-voting to text messaging, a look at how tech trends have changed politics

The YouTube debates

The YouTube debates

McCain advisor links McCain with BlackBerry creation

During the 2000 US presidential campaign, Democrat Al Gore took a lot of flack for saying that he "took great initiative in creating the Internet." Even though Gore was referring to securing government investments in technology that would eventually lead to the widespread adoption of the Internet, such as the US Information Infrastructure and Technology Act, Gore was subsequently lambasted in the press for having claimed to have "invented" the Internet.

Similarly, McCain advisor Douglas Holtz-Eakin in 2008 pointed to his BlackBerry and said McCain's work in the Senate helped to create it. While Holtz-Eakin meant that McCain's work on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation helped foster market conditions that led to a proliferation of smart wireless devices, many in the press pounced on McCain's supposed delusion and produced headlines such as "McCain BlackBerry easily connects with Gore Internet."

E-voting sparks more anxiety

Just what the country needs: more electoral chaos out of Florida. Yet that is exactly what happened when the county that became infamous for its hanging chads during the 2000 elections accidentally excluded 3,700 ballots during a recount, despite the fact that the county thought it had fixed its problems by implementing a sophisticated e-voting system. Other e-voting hotspots to watch this year include Denver, where the Denver Election Commission has done a complete overhaul of its touchscreen voting system, as well as New Jersey, where a judge blocked the release of a report that examined the source code used in state voting machines.

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