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AOL's Election Resource

Staff Writer
Published: 2004-11-01

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America Online wants every November voter to be a part of the most informed and engaged electorate in American history, which is why the company created a free election resource online that has generated more Web traffic than both the presidential candidates' own Internet sites.

ElectionGuide 2004 - available to members and non-members alike at www.ElectionGuide04.com, is a free resource that includes a number of interactive tools that contain unbiased, balanced and fair information about both presidential candidates that is designed to service everyone from the first time voter to the most avid consumer of political news.

Tools like President Match, enables voters to find out who best fits their views by answering simple and straightforward policy questions with the click of a mouse. The site also contains quality news information from leading media organizations and also lighter political fare, humor and satire, including AOL's own editorial cartoonist, Bob Gorrell.

"This has been an incredible Election year for us as we've grown as an online news organization that will enable many voters to make informed decisions come November 2," said Carlos Silva, Senior Vice President and General Manager, AOL News & Sports.

"We have seen record numbers of online traffic log onto the AOL service and watch live video coverage of everything from the political conventions to the debates -- and we expect that trend to continue into our live coverage of the 2004 election returns."

AOL News will provide live interactive election night coverage for its subscribers on Nov. 2, starting at 6 p.m. ET, via its Press Pass service (Keyword: Press Pass).

The Press Pass service includes live and on-demand video coverage, featuring interactive ABC News Now broadcasts, AOL Member questions asked directly to in-studio guests, instant polling by AOL Members, blogging, message board and chat room debating and other news resources - such as articles and biographical information -- for interested Web-viewers.

America Online's live broadcasting records, showcasing ABC News Now, were broken by AOL News' coverage of the 2004 Democratic Convention with over 1 million live Web streams, in total, during all four days of the political event. The record was again shattered by 1.2 million streams, in aggregate, during the four days of the Republican National Convention in August, and then again during the last 4 presidential and vice presidential debates with a total 1.4 million live streams.

AOL News' unscientific Internet polling also has demonstrated high numbers of member voting online. Instant Polling (snap shot polls on Press Pass during live broadcasts) saw well over 10,000 votes in 90 seconds. Other daily AOL News polls demonstrated well over 1 million responses in less than a 24 hour period. Over 20,000 AOL Member emails were received in one broadcast of the Press Pass show and thousands of posts have appeared on the message boards regarding politics and the 2004 election.

In addition, AOL Latino will feature extensive Spanish language election coverage through Keyword: Tu Voz Es Tu Voto (Your Vote is Your Vote). With recent national polls indicating that the two candidates are virtually tied, the participation of the Latino vote will be crucial in this upcoming election. Tu Voz es Tu Voto will also include live coverage and up-to-the-minute results in key Latino state elections, such the results of the Colorado and Florida Senate elections which could determine if the US elects the first Hispanic Senator of the 21st century.

"AOL News' election coverage demonstrates two critical points, first and foremost being that the electorate is starving for an interactive news experience that highlights political discourse - our Members want their voice heard, they want to hear from other Members and they want to remove that filter of the media and become the person that gets to directly ask questions to lawmakers and other political leaders," said Lewis D'Vorkin, Vice President, Editor-in-Chief of AOL News & Sports.

"Second, AOL News also proved this election year that media is converging online, that people will tune into the Internet to watch quality live video broadcasts so long as they have an opportunity to interact within the news experience, whether that is through polling, starting a blog or debating others in chat rooms and message boards - which at the end of the day is creating a more informed voter and a more dynamic news organization," added D'Vorkin.

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