Cell Phone Democracy: Legalizing Texting Donations to Campaigns
Now, even cell phones can be used as a campaigning tool. California is about to become the first state to allow citizens to text donations to local and state campaigns.
This is a giant step in the right direction for Gov 2.0. The law has the potential to bring millions of voters from diverse economic backgrounds into the realm of politics, as practically everyone has a cell phone nowadays. And even a $5 donation makes people more likely to engage in a campaign and vote - according to the Federal Political Practices Commission’s Executive Director, Roman Porter.
Essentially, the proposal bypasses the internet and the annoyance of processing a credit card by allowing the donor to text the donation on his or her cell phone - which is then charged to the donor’s phone bill.
With the Obama campaign’s aggressive effort to attract small donors giving as little as $5, one wonders how this law would benefit campaigns if it were applied on a federal level. Already, Obama’s 2012 campaign is proudly claiming 85% of its donors have given $80 or less - and so far, between his campaign and the Democratic National Committee, he has a raised a total of $86 million.
Governor Brown has also been a leader in encouraging small donations in his presidential race in 1992. He generated a significant amount of support for his campaign when he created a 1-800 number for campaign contributions.
This is a great tool to involve everyone in the political process. But will it be effective? Guess we’ll have to wait till the 2012 California elections to find out!