We are switching up this week’s OpenGov Voices and giving you a chance to catch up with some of the major OpenGov Voices blog posts that you may have missed. It’s also a good opportunity for you to reconnect with the wonderful opengov initiatives happening around the world and perhaps inspire you to start the transparency conversation in your community. Without much further ado:
Derek Eder’s post on how you can keep tabs on your local city council using a tool called Councilmatic -- was one not to miss.
In recent years, many city clerks have taken a big step forward by publishing this legislation online. However, the current generation of municipal legislative information systems are mainly built to help councilmembers and clerks’ offices manage legislation. They were not built to help the public to understand what their city council is doing. Well, like so many of our problems, now there’s an app for that: Councilmatic.
When we launched our OpenGov Grants program in June (you can apply for a grant here), it was only appropriate that we show you how these grants are already at work. What better way than to let you hear from our friends at TurboVote. Kathryn Peters’ post on how TurboVote (a previous Sunlight grantee) is shaping the future of voting that you don’t have to wait in line (and sometimes miss a chance to cast your vote) because their tool is changing all that.
In 2010, my friend Seth Flaxman and I set out to create an electoral system that would fit the way WE live: TurboVote, a new user interface for voting, as it were, complete with push notifications about election deadlines and a Netflix-worthy delivery system for all that paperwork, so we didn't have to buy envelopes or track down stamps just to stay engaged.Continue reading
We’re happy to announce our new OpenGov Grants program to help you fulfill your vision of making government more transparent and accountable.
We know how challenging fundraising can be. You start an innovative project using technology to make government more open and accessible and halfway through -- you run out of money. At Sunlight, we’ve been there, and that's why we want to help you out. (Don't be misled by our name -- we’re not a foundation with an endowment, but rather a nonprofit that competes for grants just like any other 501 c3 charitable organization.) Indeed, we know how challenging fundraising can be.With the financial support of Google.org, our new OpenGov Grants program will offer one-time grants in the range of $5,000 to $10,000 to help you achieve your vision of opening up government through creative innovations. OpenGov Grants can support anything from making a cool app to help residents understand how local government works, to creating an open source site to navigate state or local spending data to extending the capabilities of one of Sunlight’s own websites or apps. We’ll give priority to projects that develop open source software or data. (For details on what we will and won’t fund, please visit our FAQ.) Get inspired to apply by watching our video. Continue reading
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.
Kathryn Peters is the co-founder of TurboVote -- a nonpartisan nonprofit based in New York, which makes the voting process easier through a sign up system that helps users track rules and deadlines about voting -- to ensure that all citizens are included in the democratic process. You can reach her at @kathrynepeters.
Voting is one of the most fundamental interactions between citizens and our government. And it's a system whose 19th-century pedigree is showing badly. If for previous generations, gathering on Tuesday at central locations offered convenience and community, our busy schedules and long commutes have made getting to the polls one more obstacle to democratic participation.
In 2010, my friend Seth Flaxman and I set out to create an electoral system that would fit the way WE live: TurboVote, a new user interface for voting, as it were, complete with push notifications about election deadlines and a Netflix-worthy delivery system for all that paperwork, so we didn't have to buy envelopes or track down stamps just to stay engaged.
Sunlight offered us a seed grant to run a pilot at Boston University, which helped us catch the attention of Google, earn funding from the Knight Foundation, and build partnerships at schools from the University of Florida to Hobart and William Smith Colleges, until by the end of 2012, we'd reached nearly 200,000 voters. Going forward, we want to offer every voter an easier, streamlined voting experience. In order to do this, we'll need to work directly with the 8,000+ local election administrators who handle the voting process across the U.S. So we set out to learn more about our new favorite people. Service designers from Reboot shadowed elections offices from Brattleboro, VT, to Austin, TX, with stops in Denver, CO, Columbia, MO, Louisville, KY and Stuart, FL along the way. The research team got to know the people behind the scenes of American democracy, their processes and technologies, and got hands-on with e-poll books and barcode scanners as we learned the tools of the trade.Continue reading