Coding, so that soldiers might vote
BY Nancy Scola | Friday, December 18 2009
One neat little outgrowth of this weekend's Great American Hackathon, organized by the Sunlight Foundation*, is a widget in the works that -- driven by state and local election data from the rather promising Voting Information Project -- would spit out what's called a Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot for military members living overseas, customized for their home voting location. If it works, it could help to simplify a process that can be enormously complex. In recent U.S. elections, American soldiers in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere have run into real trouble (a) getting their ballots, (b) getting them in on time, and (c) staying in compliance with local election laws. It's encouraging to see open data and collaboration going to helping those folks exercise their well-earned vote.
There's not much in the way of FWAB/VIP code written yet, but this seems like a project that would be open to having a few extra hands work on it.
*Note: Our Andrew Rasiej and Micah Sifry are senior advisors to the Sunlight Foundation.