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OpinionColumnistsMark Chiusano

Swipe right for a vote

In his aggressive attempt to win the party’s nod on Tuesday, Suraj Patel, 34, is trying “Tinder banking."

Suraj Patel, former Obama campaign staffer, is trying

Suraj Patel, former Obama campaign staffer, is trying to boost voter turnout in New York 12th District by collaborating with coffee carts, taking workout classes with voters, and engaging with people on the streets. He's running to take unseat 25-year incumbent Rep. Carolyn Maloney in the Democratic primary next week.

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Here’s a new one.

Suraj Patel, a challenger to 13-term incumbent Carolyn Maloney for the Democratic nomination in New York City’s 12th Congressional District, is trying to seduce voters through dating apps.

In his aggressive attempt to win the party’s nod on Tuesday, Patel, 34, is trying “Tinder banking,” The New York Times reported this week. It’s like phone banking, but with swiping. Instead of using a landline to reach potential voters, a more or less fake profile is created on a dating app, typically used to connect romantic partners. Then you start conversations with others on the app, but soon explain that you’re not actually there for sex or love, but to get votes on June 26.

Similar practices have been used by U.K. campaigners. Perhaps Patel’s venture will show whether New Yorkers are game or want their politics separate from hook-ups.

Either way, this is clearly just the tip of a vast high-tech universe of opportunities for politicians to harry voters.

Imagine: You’re looking to book an Airbnb rental and that sweet host for that cozy cabin in the woods says there’s actually no cabin, just a town clerk election coming up.

You hop on TaskRabbit to hire someone to build shelving, and you end up getting lobbied on voting yes for a constitutional convention.

You scroll down Instagram and see that “Suggestions for You” include your long-lost buddy Bill, but he’s not actually your buddy and he wants you to vote Green Party in 2020.

Clearly a brave new world is upon us, but let’s please draw the line at least on the kinds of cellphone pictures that a few years ago sank a New York congressman.

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