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First POST: Big Things

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, April 2 2015

"The 2016 election will be live-streamed"; 64% Americans now own a smartphone; proposal to classify third-party analytics tools as communications tools; female-run VC funds; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Challenges

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, February 24 2015

How Silicon Valley donors are thinking about Hillary Clinton 2016; Yahoo's security chief locks horns with the head of the NSA; Instagram location data catches a Congressman with his hand in the till; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Oversharing

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, February 11 2015

The internal combustion of the New Organizing Institute; why sexist and homophobic tweets are still not a good idea; lessons from John Ellis (Jeb) Bush on how not to do transparency; and much, much more. Read More

Republican National Committee's Biggest Challenge Isn't Tech, It's Culture

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Monday, February 10 2014

The Republican's existential brand crisis: What does Republican stand for? Photo: RNC.

The Republican National Committee's launch of its tech incubator Para Bellum Labs last week sparked off several rounds of derision online -- complete with a microsite mocking the committee's effort to adopt Silicon Valley startup culture. But veterans of President Obama's presidential campaigns say that the data and tech deficit isn't the biggest problem facing the Republicans. It's an organizational one. Read More

For Presidential Election Commission, Long Lines at Polls Are a Technology and Data Problem

BY Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, January 29 2014

Election Resource Calculator

In his State of the Union speech last night, President Obama praised the work of his bipartisan Presidential Commission on Election Administration, emphasizing that it "has offered reforms so that no one has to wait more than a half hour to vote." On Election Night 2012, noting that many had "waited in line for a very long time," he emphasized "we have to fix that." With its report published last week, the commission outlines how the widespread ground-level adoption of new innovative election technology is directly tied to shorter lines at the polls. Read More

4 Things to Watch For With ActionNetwork.org, The New Online Organizing Platform

BY David Karpf | Friday, September 13 2013

2011 Wisconsin budget protests (Photo by Justin Ormont)

Online organizing is much more than e-petitions. It’s easy to forget that sometimes, because petitions have been (small-d) democratized for such a long time – you can go to Change.org, SignOn.org, petitiononline.com, or any number of other options. Online tools for more complex tasks (list management, event management, group coordination, etc) are harder to find, and often come with exclusive, hefty price tags attached. Yesterday’s launch of ActionNetwork.org represents a promising move towards putting advanced online organizing tools in the hands of many more people…so long as they are progressives. David Karpf, an expert in online politics and the author of The MoveOn Effect, gives us his take. Read More

New Organizing Institute to Move from Collecting Election Data to Organizing Election Officials

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Tuesday, June 18 2013

The New Organizing Institute, a progressive nonprofit that trains campaigners and is no led by former Obama for America data director Ethan Roeder, is launching a new initiative next week aiming to "fix that" for local elections. NOI will announce a national network where local election administration officials can congregate to share solutions to common issues. It's a transition for a team at NOI that had previously been managing the Voting Information Project, which collects data on polling places, election districts and voter registration deadlines and prepares it for third parties in machine-readable format. In the 2012 election cycle, backed by the Pew Charitable Trusts and partnered with Google, VIP made information available in all 50 states. Read More

For Obama's Former Data Director, a New Task: Train More Data-Driven Campaigners

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Thursday, January 10 2013

Can "Obama-style" campaigning work for the rest of the Democratic Party? NOI hopes to find out. Photo: Scout Tufankjian / OfA

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: The incoming leader of a training facility for Democratic operatives says that when it comes to 21st-century campaign skills, being better than Republicans isn't enough.

"When I think about what lessons the progressive movement can learn from the Obama campaign to be more successful, it's not: 'you should use casual subject lines in your e-mail like 'Hey,'" says Ethan Roeder, incoming executive director of the New Organizing Institute in Washington, D.C. "It's: 'You should be testing everything.'"

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New Organizing Institute Changes Leadership

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Tuesday, January 8 2013

Judith Freeman, one of the co-founders of the left-leaning New Organizing Institute In Washington, D.C. is leaving her post as its executive director at the end of March. She will be succeeded by the self-described ... Read More

Democratic Politics and The Innovator's Dilemma

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, January 2 2013

Photo: Max Braun / Flickr

In a recent blog post, progressive technologists Jim Pugh and Nathan Woodhull argue that Democrats should institutionalize the software development that came out of the second Obama campaign. This sets up the same innovator's dilemma faced by major players in other industries: Democrats can allow competition internally, potentially creating greater innovation but putting their control at risk, or they can focus on consolidating their advantage. What decision they make will say much about what the Democratic Party will become. Read More