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Want to Track the Presidential Election? There’s an App or … Two for That.

No election year generates more buzz than a presidential one. The opposing party has to find a suitable candidate to go up against the current president. Then it’s time for the two to battle it out online, in television ads and on podiums during debates. Some people love following these activities the way football fans love following everything that goes on during football season … even on their smart phones.

There are several apps for iPhones and Android – some free, some not – that make it easy for people to stay up to date with what’s going on throughout this presidential election race. Johanna Ambrosio, Barbara Krasnoff, Tracy Mayor and Valerie Potter shared their opinions about some of these apps for ComputerWorld.

Now, if you only download free apps, CNN Mobile, Election Caster and Voter Map can all be downloaded for free. The New York Times Election 2012 app is only free for New York Times subscribers.

Ambrosio disliked the CNN Mobile app, which she said was inadequate. Instead, she recommends using the mobile version of CNN’s Election Center website. CNN Mobile is better suited, she says, for following all the latest headlines, not just what’s going on in the presidential campaign.

According to Mayor, Election Caster will not only keep you up to date with the latest news but also with the latest tweets and commentary. Mayor found the tweets feature disappointing, but most politicians have Twitter accounts, so you can at least keep up with what’s going on with your favorite candidate by following his Twitter feed. Election Caster, according to Mayor, is for people with a passing political interest. People who are passionate about their politics might want something that they can tailor to their own preferences.

Ambrosio praised the New York Times Election 2012 app. It supplies a lot of resources for political news and information in a way that’s easy to navigate. If you don’t mind paying for a subscription to the New York Times, then you can have this app free of charge; however, if you’re not inclined to read the New York Times on a regular basis, you might be better off just paying for the app.

Politifact Mobile costs $1.99. Politifact Mobile, which is derived from, lets you verify statements made by politicians. It also allows you to see how many of the current president’s campaign promises have been fulfilled and which politicians have flip-flopped on certain issues. This app is not for keeping up with the progress of caucuses, primary elections or debates; it’s strictly a fact-checking app.

USA Election 2012 is another path you have to buy. According to Potter, it’s worth the $.99 you have to spend to get it. Although it doesn’t give as much information as it promises, Potter says it does give quite a bit. So, if you want to know all about the candidates and how they are doing as they travel around the country campaigning, USA Election 2012 could be the app for you.

Finally, there is Voter Map, another free app. As its name suggests, it uses geolocation to indicate where you and others are when you share your comments. The posts are anonymous (really?) and geo-tagged through Google Maps. Krasnoff expresses her dislike for the detail of the map feature. Considering how emotional some people get about politics, it’s easy to understand why.

Following politics isn’t for everybody. But if you’re one of those who loves keeping up with the latest happenings in the presidential election race, then you’ll probably like some of the apps out there that allow you to do that and more.

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