Hacks for Democracy

The aim of the The Hacks for Democracy hackathon was build tools to increase the numbers of citizens participating in democracy by making registering to vote, finding polling place and actually voting easier and more convenient. Our own Aaron and Mjmube, working on seperate teams, developed VoterID.me and Electory.org.

Democracy is not inevitable or a given; it must be sustained and strengthened by each generation. Today, American democracy is challenged by unlimited political contributions, polarized legislatures, gerrymandered districts and opaque processes.

But efforts such as the Voting Information Project, open government data repositories, online voting, ParliamentWatch and TheyWorkForYou have demonstrated that technology can make an important contribution toward improving our democratic institutions. (from Azavea, sponsor of Hacks for Democracy)

VoterID.me is a desktop and mobile web application that provides relevant Voter ID laws for all fifty states, including Voter ID requirements, acceptable forms of identification, voter rights, and hotlines to call for assistance. Technically, is a client side application powered by the an API by the New Organizing Institute and Twitter Bootstrap. It also uses HTML5 geolocation to automatically show information for my state. Aaron acted as the tech lead.

Electory.org is for people who want to engage in local politics. Electory provides the user with information on where to vote, as well as contact information for their local election leaders. Election leaders are individuals in the community that are engaged in the political process and could be committee members, ward leaders, or community and neighborhood activists. Leaders can update or add their own information in Electory by authenticating themselves against the voter registry.  The UI is built using the same technology that the Shareabouts map client is built with (specifically Backbone.js, Leaflet maps, Mustache templates). Mjumbe focused on project scoping, and the UI implementation.

Check out livestrems of the event:

+The Friday evening pre-hackathon video is here.
+The Round 1 project demos on Sunday video is here.
+The Round 1 judging results video is here.

VoterID.me and Electory.org, respectively placed in 2nd and 3rd. First place went to Yo! Philly Votes, an application for aggregating and visualizing voter incident reports during Election Day. The hackathon took  September 15 and 16th in Philadelphia.