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Commentary: Micah Altman on How Participatory Technology Is Changing Redistricting

BY Micah Altman | Wednesday, February 8 2012

Illustration: Shutterstock

Micah Altman, a principal investigator at the Public Mapping Project, responds to Nick Judd's article about the project's efforts to increase participation in redistricting around the country: "It's a good article, even if its titular conclusion, that we'll have to wait another 10 years for any of this to matter, is wrong." Well, then! Read on for more. Read More

In Pursuit of a Tech Answer to Gerrymandering, Good-Government Groups Must Wait Another Ten Years

BY Nick Judd | Monday, February 6 2012

This 1812 cartoon from the Boston Gazette is widely credited as the origin of the term "Gerrymander." Source: Wikimedia Commons

This year, advocates for more public inclusion in the redistricting process put an idea to the test: That open-source software and voter outreach efforts could make people more aware and more involved. The idea here was that new tools would make maps easier to draw and even easier to understand, creating, at worst, evidence that lawmakers involved in redistricting were not drawing the right maps, and, at best, alternatives. Read More

Citizen-Sourced Redistricting Efforts Are Reaching the Finish Line

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, September 8 2011

FixPhillyDistricts.com Philadelphia's City Council is expected to propose on Thursday a new set of political borders to last the city through the next ten years — and the results will be a barometer of success for ... Read More

Gathering Support to Fix Philly's Political Borders

BY Nick Judd | Tuesday, August 9 2011

A citizen-led effort to take the reins in redrawing Philadelphia's political lines has already attracted a surprising amount of support, and one city official's promise to listen. In response to widespread pressure to ... Read More

Amid Protest Over Closed Philadelphia Redistricting Process, Tech Firm Decides to Start Its Own

BY Nick Judd | Friday, August 5 2011

FixPhillyDistricts.com A Philadelphia software company hopes to use technology to pry open a crack in the historically closed-door process of dividing up the city into City Council districts. Cities and states nationwide ... Read More

Alan Grayson Vows a Return

BY Nick Judd | Tuesday, July 12 2011

Former Florida Rep. Alan Grayson, who came to office in 2008 with the support of the online left and whose term was an experiment in the ability of the Internet to keep a candidate viable who does not quite toe the party ... Read More

Advocate to Lawmakers: Using the Internet, Making Better Maps, Is 'Kind Of What We're Paying You For'

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, June 23 2011

Bay County American Civil Liberties Union President Bill Pritchard, speaking at a redistricting hearing in Bay County, Fla., that had maps of the current districts but no proposed districts as they would be for the next ... Read More

Playing Citizen-Redistricter in the District

BY Nancy Scola | Friday, March 25 2011

The 2010 U.S. Census data that will power redistricting efforts across the U.S. dropped yesterday. It's cliched, but true, to say that we, normal folk, have more powerful tools to work with and interpret that data than ... Read More

Democrats Hiring for Redistricting Desk

BY Nancy Scola | Wednesday, March 16 2011

One area where political data chops developed over the last few years will likely be shortly be called into greater service: redistricting. The DNC's tech department is in the market for a data-savvy person for its ... Read More

Lines, Lines, Everywhere Lines

BY Nick Judd | Friday, February 4 2011

The U.S. Census Bureau is beginning to release local census data describing the people who live in each state of the union, which means that states across the country will set to work redrawing the lines that determine ... Read More

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NYC Open Data Advocates Focus on Quality And Value Over Quantity

The New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications plans to publish more than double the amount of datasets this year than it published to the portal last year, new Commissioner Anne Roest wrote last week in an annual report mandated by the city's open data law, with 135 datasets scheduled to be released this year, and almost 100 more to come in 2015. But as preparations are underway for City Council open data oversight hearings in the fall, what matters more to advocates than the absolute number of the datasets is their quality. GO

Civic Tech and Engagement: Announcing a New Series on What Makes it "Thick"

Announcing a new series of feature articles that we will be publishing over the next several months, thanks to the support of the Rita Allen Foundation. Our focus is on digitally-enabled civic engagement, and in particular, how and under what conditions "thick" digital civic engagement occurs. What we're after is answers to this question: When does a tech tool or platform enable actual people to make ongoing and significant contributions to each other, to a place or cause, at a scale that produces demonstrable change? GO

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