Internet changing the way we vote in 2008

The Internet has forever changed the way we communicate, find information, and even the way we pick our president. Now that may seem like an outrageous claim, but the Internet has heavily influenced the way we are viewing the 2008 presidential election.

Take Barack Obama for example. When he started off in the election, few people thought he had what it took to beat out other Democratic candidates; now he is in a near dead lock with Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Nomination. Part of this is due to the increased youth voter turnout in caucuses and primary elections.

Barack Obama’s support from youth voters can probably be best attributed to his strong Internet base. The Facebook group “One Million Strong for Barack Obama” had over 1,000 members after the first day and over 300,000 members only one month after the group was created.

Just as T.V. changed the way we get our information and picked our president, the Internet too is changing the face of politics. The Internet also means far more information for us voters to sift through. Because the Internet is still fairly new there are still very few laws concerning censorship of websites.

Even true stories can cause problems for candidates. For example, last month a story surfaced accusing John McCain of being ineligible to run for the presidency, due to the fact that he was born in the Panama Canal region when his father was deployed there with the U.S. army. As a result of this rumor, Congress pushed through a bill that would automatically make children born to military parent serving abroad eligible to run for office. The U.S. government has far more important things to deal with than trivial bills such as this.

While the Internet can be beneficial to some candidates it can be detrimental to others. But one thing is clear, the Internet is not only changing the way we communicate, but also even we pick our president. While it may be another four years before the Internet completely changes how we pick our leaders, but just as T.V. has changed politics, so too will the Internet.

Anna Blackford, commentary editor