YouTube Invites 'Video Your Vote'

Online video has played an important role in this year's presidential election , prompting some to label the 2008 race for the White House as the first " YouTube election."

For its part, YouTube hasn't been an idle medium for users to post videos to support or parody the candidates . The video-sharing site hosted a series of debates for the race that allowed users to submit questions via YouTube for both the Republican and Democratic candidates.

Now, YouTube has announced plans to allow voters to upload their voting experiences to the video social network. YouTube announced yesterday that it has partnered with PBS to create a Video Your Vote YouTube channel to collect the massive amount of polling place video expected from users. These videos will be used to create a library of online Election Day footage, YouTube said.

"Voters have documented each step of the 2008 election on YouTube and this phenomenon will culminate on November 4 as people head to the polls to determine the forty-fourth President of the United States," said Steve Grove, YouTube's head of news and politics, in a statement. "This partnership with PBS ... will help voters examine all aspects of voting from the registration processes, to reforms, to technology and election administration, to the actual casting of ballots."

Some of the best videos will be showcased on PBS television, as part of The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer 's Election Day broadcast. The may also be used throughout PBS' election coverage, both on-air and online, YouTube added.

YouTube is asking users to tag their videos, for example, labeling events that hinder the voting process as "pollproblem," so they can be easy to find by other YouTube users and PBS analysts. Some states and counties have regulations against the use of recording equipment at polling places, YouTube noted.

PBS and YouTube plan to donate 1,000 phones with camcorders to nonpartisan, nonprofit groups and local PBS stations to help capture video from polling places.

Paul Glazowski, a blogger at Mashable, noted that this move is an expansion of YouTube's YouChoose 08 where the candidates' content is presented to users along with debate coverage and celebrity endorsements. YouTube has become such a critical medium for the McCain campaign's advertisements that it implored YouTube this week to stop removing its ads so quickly in the face of copyright infringement notices.

"Now the video service has established a place reserved for user input and an ombudsman-like view of the process," Glazowski wrote. " Given the sheer volume of content available on YouTube about the 2008 campaign, it may behoove the company to mold a comprehensive venue for all things to do with the race ... from candidates' speeches and advertisements to news briefs to popular citizen endorsements."

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