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Torie Osborn hopes to ‘friend’ voters

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Assembly candidate Torie Osborn has begun using a new online social organizing tool designed to help her campaign volunteers reach out to their Facebook friends and mine votes from those who live in her Westside district.

The system can identify which of a person’s Facebook friends is registered to vote in  the 50th Assembly District, where Osborn is competing  with two other Democrats—Assemblywoman Betsy Butler and Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom—and  Republican Bradly S. Torgan, an environmental attorney.  The top two finishers in the June 5 primary will advance to the November general election, regardless of party, in the hard-fought, high-spending contest.  (Butler and Osborn both had nearly $500,000 in their campaign treasuries at the end of the latest reporting period.)

Once the “Facebook for Torie” system locates registered voters, it can send volunteers to a phone bank interface to contact those voters.  Based on their conversations,  the volunteers can label  each  voter “supporter,” “undecided” or “supporting another candidate” and the results are added to the voter file for the campaign’s records.  Volunteers can learn how to use the new system by watching a video on—what else?—YouTube. 

Osborn campaign advisor Dave Jacobson said this is the first time the organizing tool has been used in a California political campaign.  It recently won a Campaign Excellence Award for best use of new technology from the American Assn. of Political Consultants, based on its  debut  in a 2011 ballot measure campaign in Ohio.

This isn’t the first time the Osborn campaign has tapped into technology.  It recently began using a virtual phone banking operation in which volunteers can call voters from the comfort of their own homes.  No  more slogging  to the campaign office  through that notorious Westside traffic!

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--Jean Merl

Photo: Facebook signage at the company's Menlo Park campus. Credit: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

 
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