OpenGov Voices: Improve voter experience in NYC — Come to the Voting Information Project Hackathon!


Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by the guest blogger and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not reflect the opinions of the Sunlight Foundation or any employee thereof. Sunlight Foundation is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information within the guest blog.J.Marcotte

Jared Marcotte is a manager for The Pew Charitable Trusts Election Initiatives. Recently, as a senior engineer at the New Organizing Institute, Jared worked on the Voting Information Project — a collaboration with state and local officials, Google, Microsoft and Pew to develop and populate an open API and database of election-related information for all 50 states. Jared is also an interface and interaction designer and has worked on the Election Protection Coalition’s Our Vote Live and  

Casting a vote is the most basic way we participate in our democracy, and effective election systems are fundamental to that participation. But in many cases, finding the information you need to cast your ballot – where your polling place is, what’s on your ballot, and what you need to bring with you – is not as simple as it should be. The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Voting Information Project (VIP) works to improve the voter experience by providing up-to-date election information where voters are most likely to look for it – online. Like everything else today, when people want information the web is the first place they look. VIP brings election information directly to the voter by allowing states to expose official election data such as polling locations, registration deadlines, and ballot information on various mediums and platforms like the web and mobile.

Modern voters expect online tools to help them cast an informed vote, and VIP is here to provide new platforms to enhance their experience. On August 2-3 we are hosting our first-ever New York City hackathon at AlleyNYC in midtown Manhattan. The event will bring together 150 developers, designers, and usability experts to generate socially innovative applications that can improve the voting experience in New York City for the 2013 primary and general elections, including the mayoral race.

We’ll be capping the registration at 150 so register today!

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Bringing together creative minds to share ideas, experiment, and learn from one another will only serve to build upon the important work Pew, VIP, and our partners do. In 2012, VIP tools saw more than 25 million lookups from people trying to find their polling place along with information on candidates and ballot issues. More than 600 websites embedded VIP tools for voters to use, including the Washington Post, ABC, CNN, and FOX News.

Given the excitement surrounding the upcoming election, we know the enthusiasm and expertise of the participants will produce a variety of real world applications that will enhance a New York City voter’s experience.

JOIN US and register here for our first-ever VIP hackathon for New York City. Hear luminaries in the field talk about this work and meet with the folks sponsoring our two-day event: The Pew Charitable Trusts, Google, Microsoft, The Sunlight Foundation, Azavea, Twilio, and more.

To learn more about VIP, watch, read, or check out our website.  Whether you can make it or not on August 2-3, follow us on Twitter @VotingInfo and let us know your thoughts using #VIPHackathon. We can’t wait to see you.

Disclaimer: Sunlight is one of the sponsors of the Voting Information Project Hackathon.

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