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Election Day - on YouTube

From CNN and BBC to millions of cellphone cameras, people will be recording and documenting this Election Day in an unprecedented fashion. Expect Nov. 4, 2008 to be available online for a long time to come.

Look for next Tuesday to be the most heavily documented election in history, Noam Cohen writes for the New York Times. Not just in terms of massive international media coverage.

No, you can expect millions of citizens out there to be wielding cell phones, capturing video and uploading the experience to the Web. Especially YouTube, which has launched a new channel, VideoYourVote, which features the News Hour's Judy Woodruff, explaining the project:

We're looking for videos that document the excitement, energy and last-second campaigning on Nov. 4, as well as problems you find at voting places like long lines and voting machines.
YouTube's Steve Grove told the Times that the scale of this year's election demands citizen documentation.
“If something happens — excessively long lines, voter intimidation — individual voters will be capturing this, not the regular media. It’s just too big a scale. This isn’t meant to inspire muckrakers to jam their cameras into people’s face — this is a respectful project.

But all this filming can serve to intimidate minority voters and others coming to a poll for the first time, says Ian Ianaba, cofounder of Video the Vote.

We tell our volunteers to take your video camera when you vote, and if you see a problem, go back and get it and document what you see. Other than that, there is no reason to take a video camera out, particularly in minority neighborhoods where there is a history of voter intimidation.