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Text messaging gets out the vote in Spain, March 2004

Mobile telephones and text messaging helped the Socialists defeat the ruling Popular Party in a surprise result.

The Popular Party made an attempt to manipulate perception that the Basque separatist group ETA was responsible for the bombing of four intercity trains in Madrid, March 11. All credible evidence pointed away from ETA, toward Muslim extremists. The Popular Party only needed a few days.... The election was on the 14th. Apparently they felt their chances were better if people believed ETA responsible—so they put the pressure on media sources.

But the plan failed, and worked in reverse. They fought against facts, and tried to manipulate the media No matter they'd be found out in a matter of days. In a matter of days, they'd be re-elected — then, it would be too late.

They'd been studying Bush II's "victory" in America 2000. It doesn't matter what people think. They'll forget soon enough....

But the skepticism of the Spanish voters cut through that — and the word spread. Via mobile telephones, and text messaging, the word spread exponentially. Text messaging got the vote out. 77 percent of eligible voters made it to the polling booth.

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