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News Link • Political Parties

A Visualization Of The Most Invisible, And Influential, Part Of Political Campaigns

•, By Emily Elert

When I hear the phrase "political action," I think of public demonstrations. But the most influential form of political action has nothing to do with making a sign or attending a rally--it's about donating money, and it's not done in public.

To visualize this (mostly invisible) form of political action, artist-researcher Mauro Martino, sociologist Sasha Goodman, and other members of Northeastern University's LazerLab team created software to download, process, and geocode data from thousands of files submitted to the Federal Election Commission by political action committees (PACs). Next, they used several visualization tools to create an animation showing the location and timing of campaign contributions throughout 2012. They zeroed in on Boston, because that's where they live, but the model could be applied anywhere. 

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