Vote early, vote often, but don’t vote via social networks

Votizen lets you endorse the candidates of your choice and connect with others across the Web who share your beliefs. That's not necessarily a winning strategy.

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In case you haven’t noticed, this is an election year. We’ve already seen a number of new wrinkles this election cycle, such as SuperPacs and the Republican candidates tearing at each other like a pack of rabid jackals (usually it’s the Democrats who do that).

Here’s another: A social network built around on whom you plan to vote for.

The idea behind Votizen is to get people to be more politically active by connecting them with other like-minded folks, which I suppose is laudable (assuming they agree with me, of course). But I think being too upfront about your politics online could have unintended and unpleasant consequences down the line. More on that in a bit.

To sign up for Votizen you’ll need to connect it to your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn account. Votizen will also ask you for your real name, birthdate, and the address where you’re registered to vote, then check that information against voter registration databases. It will pull up all of the elections for the past 12 years and ask you to identify whom you voted for. (Though you don’t have to do this.) It also asks you if you want to endorse any of the major candidates running for national office.

If you’re not a registered voter, or Votizen simply can’t verify your registration, you can still use the site to endorse candidates, it just won’t display your previous voting choices.

Endorse, say, Buddy Roemer for president, and that information goes on the home page of the site, at least briefly. You can share your endorsements via Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. You can also see the Votizen profiles of anyone else who endorsed Roemer (or any other candidate, for that matter).

This ends up in some oddball results. For example, if the election were held today entirely among people who’ve signed up for Votizen, Ron Paul would be our next president (with Rick Santorum as runner up). But if only verified voters were counted, Obama would win re-election in a landslide.

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