Best Election Apps
The November election is getting ever closer, as we get ready to elect a new president — not to mention the other offices and propositions that might be on your local ballot. A raucous primary season has given way to an even more event-packed general election campaign that's provided a lot of news, soundbites and honest debate about the issues facing the country. Check out this series of news aggregators, poll trackers and other apps that can help you keep track of (or make fun of) the 2016 elections.
Hillary 2016 & America First (Android, iOS)
With both the Democrats and Republicans nominating their presidential candidates, the official campaign apps have started to surface ahead of the big day. The Hillary 2016 app (iOS) is a combined motivator app for her supporters, a tool for assisting grassroots organizing efforts, and even a nifty game that lets you unlock in-game and real world rewards, from virtual decorations for your virtual campaign office, to souvenirs and other Hillary-themed items. It also accepts donations for the campaign. Not to be outdone, the Trump team has launched its own America First app (Android, iOS) which offers news, videos, details and directions for campaign events, and game elements encouraging social media participation, with more features planned down the line.
US Election 2016 / Election NF 2016 (Android, iOS)
NewsFusion's US Election 2016 news app (also known as Election NF 2016 on iOS) is a slick, highly configurable political news aggregator for the 2016 elections. Users can simply view all the news as it comes in on their feed, subscribe to particular topics and block others. Users can set the app to alert them of breaking news, select favorite topics and mark articles for later offline reading. A particularly nice feature is a button for quickly calling up results from Politico's polling center, featuring the latest poll results for upcoming primaries and other topics. Updates have added tag support to better organize and search for the stories that you're interested in, as well as improvements to the app's interface.
We The People - Election 2016 (Android, iOS)
We the People - Election 2016 (Android, iOS) gives you both the latest politics news and polls as well as an anonymous, location-based message board where you can debate the issues with people both near you and elsewhere. You can also take the temperature in real time of your neighborhood and find out whether your area leans left, right, or something else. It's a fascinating marriage of geolocation apps and politics, with an emphasis on debate and discussion with other citizens nearby.
Real Clear Politics (iOS)
Real Clear Politics wants to give its readers "ideological diversity" in its content, pulling in news, opinion pieces, and poll data from a variety of sources to provide a mostly middle-ground view of issues and political news nationwide. While its content is notable for the quality and bipartisanship, a lack of updates to the app since 2013 leads to an interface that's looking dated and a little unwieldy on current phones. Still, RCP's reputation for quality reporting makes up for the non-fancy look.
Stat junkies should enjoy Talking Points Memo's PollTracker app, which aggregates the latest poll data for presidential, senatorial, and gubernatorial races this year, as well as tracking opinions on important issues that may affect the elections, such as support for gun control or immigration. The app can also do both forecasts of where the polls are leading to, as well as time lapse with previous polls to show how the numbers have moved. Users can bookmark their favorite polls and share them over Facebook, Twitter or email.
A website that focuses exclusively on Congress candidates, 4US.com aims to bring attention to the local races, which some pundits argue are more important than the presidential contest. 4US gives both the legislative history of each candidate as well as their political inclination and combines it with your votes on the website on what issues are important to you, which should help you make an informed decision on these oft-ignored contests. The app also gives you info on bills currently being debated in Congress, the pros and cons, and where your representative stands or has voted on the bill.
Countable (Android, iOS)
Another Congress-focused app, Countable (Android, iOS) wants you to become more engaged in the legislative process. Users can check out information on upcoming bills up for debate, with a brief non-partisan summary of each bill and its pros and cons. You can also look up related stories and how your opinion on vote lines up with your representative's. You can then email or send a video message to your rep to voice your opinion. It's probably one of the niftiest ways to interact with Congress right from your smartphone.
Voter - Political Matchmaking (iOS, Free)
Each of the many candidates for office has their own stance on a variety of issues. If you find it difficult to find the right match for your own political viewpoints, perhaps you should try out Voter - Political Matchmaking, an iPhone app that takes a Tinder-like approach to political candidates. The app asks you a series of questions about issues, sliding left for no and right for yes (or slide up for a quick primer on the issue). Once you're done, the app shows you a list of the candidates that most closely match your stance, along with a more detailed profile of each.
270 to Win (iOS, $0.99) / U.S. 270 Free (Android)
If you're in the mood to do a little electoral college prognosticating, you can check out 270 to Win, an iOS app that allows you to create a custom electoral map of the USA. 270 to Win has gotten a lot of buzz thanks to the volatile presidential race and the unorthodox campaign strategies. Even other political reporters are now using 270 to Win's handy electoral map generator to make predictions and comment on what candidates are doing and what they should be doing next. The app lets you make a prediction on how the states will go on election day, with assists on the political history of each state, as well as latest polls for each. You can even compare your electoral map to other pundits', as well as share it with other users. The latest updates now include estimates for 2020 and 2024, as well as historical electoral vote counts for previous elections. On the Android end, a less featured alternative is U.S. 270 Free.
Politifact Mobile (Android, $1.99)
Politifact's Pulitzer Prize-winning reporting on the truthfulness of politicians now comes in handy app form. Politifact focuses on attempting to assign objective assessments of True, Mostly True and Pants on Fire on the statements and claims of politicians and public figures, as well as providing sources and details justifying the rating. The ad-free Politifact Android app provides a constant feed of Politifact's releases, which can be sorted by date, topic, truthfulness or personality involved, as well extras and related stories. An essential app for those trying to navigate the "truthiness" of campaigns, especially as the race gets closer to Election Day.
Settle It! Politifact Argument Ender (Android, iOS)
Settle It! Politifact's Argument Ender (Android, iOS), is a far more focused iteration of PolitiFact's service that concentrates on searching the Politifact database for quick fact-checks when you get embroiled in an argument. You can also play the Politifact challenge, which tests your ability to predict the Truth-o-Meter rating for five recent statements. A must-have app for political junkies who want to end (and win) arguments with their friends.
Election Manager 2016 (iOS, $3.99)
Think you can do a better job of running for office? Test your campaign moxie with Election Manager 2016, a detailed election campaign strategy simulation game that allows you to refight the 2012 election between Obama and Romney, play through the 2016 campaign between Clinton and Trump, or create your own custom campaign that can include independent campaigns and variables such as random events, different levels of campaign funding and candidate traits. Players will have to navigate a minefield of policy positions, set up state offices to boost your ground game, and carefully manage advertising across a variety of urban and rural media markets.