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E-mail, Texting Used For Election Notices

This story was written by Mandy Hofmockel, Daily Collegian

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama's decision to announce his running mate by text message and e-mail has the leader of one Penn State organization applauding his commitment to young people.

Zachary Zabel, president of Penn State Students for Barack Obama, said Obama has reached out to a new generation of people with the use of YouTube and Facebook to move volunteer networks and spread his message and views.

Sen. Obama, D-Ill., plans to let supporters "Be the first to know" who Obama will pick as his deputy on the ticket for November's general election, campaign chief David Plouffe wrote in an e-mail sent to supporters Sunday.

Supporters can sign up on Obama's Web site to be texted and/or e-mailed his choice for running mate.

Zabel said his organization is encouraging use of the alert service.

Sean Smith, Obama's Pennsylvania communications director, said text messages, e-mail alerts and Facebook applications are among the media employed by the campaign.

"It says that our campaign is focused on the future," he said.

Smith said those who sign up to receive notice of Obama's vice president will also get other messages and updates asking for help with the upcoming election.

He could offer no date for when Obama's decision may occur.

"We are all waiting to hear," Smith said, later adding the senator wants his volunteers to be the first to know.

Obama is not the only candidate with an arsenal of accessibility. The presumptive Republican nominee, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., also has a host of new media at the ready, his supporters say.

Alex Smith, president of Penn State College Republicans, said YouTube and McCain's Web site are a few examples of the media the presidential candidate uses.

In reference to Obama's decision to text and e-mail supporters, Smith said, "It seems kind of silly to me."

Paul Lindsay, spokesman for McCain's Pennsylvania campaign, could not offer comment on vice presidential matters.

Another example of Obama's reach to connect to constituents is the Democratic National Convention, Zabel said.

Sean Smith said Obama will deliver a speech the last night of the convention at Invesco Field, home of the Denver Broncos, which holds more that 75,000 people in Colorado.

"He's really allowing everyone to get involved," Zabel said.