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Kenyan app Ushahidi monitoring US elections

people voting Image copyright AFP
Image caption Millions of Americans are voting today to elect leaders in the federal and state levels

An election mapping platform built by Kenyan developers is being used to track possible voter intimidation and violence in the US election.

A team in Kenya and the US are working on the project, Ushahidi's innovation manager has told the BBC.

The platform is being used to collect and verify information which can be shared to affiliated groups for action.

Republican candidate Donald Trump has said he believes the election will be rigged.

Some fear his call for his supporters to monitor the voting process could lead to intimidation.

His opponent, Hillary Clinton, has dismissed the voter fraud allegations.

Millions of Americans are voting to elect a president and leaders in federal and state levels. Other states are also running ballot measures to get the public to vote on local issues.

"The team is currently combing through social media and dealing with messages sent directly to its platform, verifying the content before escalating to the right people," Ushahidi's innovation manager Chris Mukuria told the BBC.

A statement on Ushahidi's website says that it has partnered with several institutions including the Election Protection Committee, "who run one of the largest non-partisan election monitoring organizations in the USA".

"Our honest hope is that all of this is for naught, and that end of the day Tuesday we look at all the reports and that 99.9% of reports say: 'Everything went great!'" Ushahidi's chief operating officer Nathaniel Manning said in a statement.

Ushahidi around the world

Ushahidi was launched in 2008 by a group of activists and developers to monitor and map the violence in Kenya after a disputed election.

The platform has been used in several countries and in different projects, from monitoring sexual harassment in Egypt and to respond to the needs during the earthquake Haiti in 2012.

The application that has been deployed to monitor the US elections has also been used in Mexico and Nigeria, Mr Mukuria said.

"The team plans to continue monitoring the elections until polls close," he added.

A momentous election

Mrs Clinton is the Democratic candidate for the presidential race and is aiming to become the first woman president of the United States.

Mr Trump, a real-estate billionaire and a reality-TV star, beat seasoned politicians in the primaries to emerge as the Republican candidate for the presidential race.

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