Wednesday, February 20, 2008
I'm a political junkie, and as Super Tuesday neared it seemed likely that the race for Democratic nominee would extend well past that big day at the polls. I started looking around for information about the so-called "superdelegates" (the party leaders and elected officials who make up 20% of the vote at the convention) -- and was disappointed to find no single resource that provided details on who they were, which candidate they'd endorsed (if anyone) and where they are located.
So I went ahead and registered 'superdelegates.org', installed MediaWiki and started populating the site with the info I could find. Thanks to a terrific extension to MediaWiki (KML Export, written by Juliano Ravasi), it's possible to map the wiki pages to a Google Earth layer, which helps to visualize where these delegates are.
Since the superdelegates site launched two weeks ago, it has been featured on CNN, and tens of thousands of people have stopped by to learn more about superdelegates, understand the process, and add information. Over 60% of the delegates are now on the map and are associated with their endorsed candidate, with more info coming in every day. It's tremendously gratifying to see a community grow around this timely subject- hope you find it useful!
Update: Since I posted this entry, there have been a few additional improvements to the superdelegates site. Every delegate's wiki page now includes a Google Newsbar with scrolling headlines mentioning the delegate. Fellow Googler Bob Rose also created an enhanced KML layer so that each delegate's placemarker now includes information and links to their home state, position in the DNC, and candidate endorsement (with YouTube videos of speeches if available).
Disclaimer: Since superdelegate endorsements are not binding, we can't ensure that the endorsements listed are indicative of future events. But we're excited that people are engaging in politics online by drawing from a compilation of candidate endorsement lists on Roll Call, CNN's Election Center and other sources to update the site on a daily basis. Other groups and publications may have different superdelegate counts, including candidates' campaigns, the New York Times, and the AP.