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First POST: Oligarchs for a Little Less Corruption

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, April 21 2014

Sean Parker's plans to change US politics; the New York Times' front-pages mesh networking; the Pirate Times reviews the party's impact on the European Parliament; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: System of a Down

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, November 21 2013

Clay Shirky dissects the managerial and cultural gap between politicians, government planners and technologists that underpins the HealthCare.gov mess; the GOP playbook for attacking Obamacare; Mike Allen's pro-business Playbook gets eviscerated; and much, much more. Read More

Bully Pulpit Interactive and NGP VAN Help Shape Democratic Victories

BY Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, November 6 2013

NYC Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio meets with outgoing Mayor Bloomberg (NYC Mayor's Office/Flickr)

Yesterday's state and local elections kept a number of major Democratic and Republican political technology vendors busy, and some of them are taking a victory lap today. Miranda Neubauer covers the horizon. Read More

New York City Looks to Technology to Grow Voter Turnout

BY Miranda Neubauer | Friday, August 9 2013

(NYCCFB/Facebook)

Even though New Yorkers will have to vote with old-fashioned lever machines in the September primary elections, New York campaign finance officials and candidates are looking to 21st century technology to try and encourage voter participation and interest, especially among younger voters. Read More

Can a New GOP Tech Marketplace Outpace Democrats?

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, April 4 2013

There's a new entrant into the milieu of Republican firms hoping to modernize the party. Earlier this week, former National Republican Senatorial Committee Digital Director Alex Skatell and former Republican Governors Association Executive Director Phil Musser pulled the lid off their new company, MGA Holdings, a three-headed digital hydra that houses a creative agency, a niche media property, and a software development firm. Among Skatell's plans is one to build a new front-end for Republican voter data management. The GOP promises that it will compel its vendors to offer an API that third parties can use to build applications for campaigns that want to make the most of their voter data, Obama-style — and Skatell says he'll be one of the first into that market. Read More

Republican Party's Technology Revival Hopes Hinge On Data and Data Analysis

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, February 7 2013

Republicans using GOP Data Center, the RNC's centralized voter database, logged about 80.5 million voter contacts during the 2012 election, mostly in battleground states. That includes 14.5 million door-knocks in battleground states and another 900,000 in highly competitive races outside of the presidential battleground, according to Republican National Committee spokesman Sean Spicer.
The numbers confirm what Republicans already know: They were whalloped in 2012. In the Obama campaign's "Legacy Report," campaign officials claim volunteers contacted voters nearly twice as often as their Republican counterparts did — about 150 million times. (That number includes volunteer recruitment and voter turnout attempts.) Read More

For Tea Party Groups, That "Digital Gap" With Democrats Doesn't Seem As Wide

BY Matt Taylor | Tuesday, January 29 2013

Tea Party groups used their own software to support Republican Sen. Ted Cruz's primary campaign in Texas. Photo: Gage Skidmore

Given FreedomWorks chairman Dick Armey's tumultuous exit from the organization he helped found, a Republican Party now casting about for solutions to its electoral troubles could be forgiven for passing over Tea Party advice on organizational structure. But if grassroots conservatives have technology tips to share, GOP insiders looking for an upgrade might want to lend an ear. Read More

In Year of Political "Big Data," NationBuilder Makes Voter Data Free

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, September 13 2012

Illustration: Shutterstock

The team at NationBuilder announced Thursday that they were releasing API and limited bulk data access to a nationwide voter file with records on 170 million voters, for free.

"I'm a developer, I've wanted to build off of this data for like a decade and it's just completely impractical because it would just cost a ton of money to bring this together, a ton of time, you wouldn't get access through all the parties, the tools are all partisan," Gilliam said Thursday. "There's no ecosystem around it. And that's really stunted the innovation in the political tech world."

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What Data Visualization Can and Can't Tell Us About Pennsylvania's Voter ID Law

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Tuesday, August 7 2012

A spot analysis of some 868,648 records of active voters in the city of Philadelphia suggests that Pennsylvania's new voter identification law may have a disproportionate affect on minorities and students. But the analysis, performed by Philadelphia-based software company Azavea and limited in scope only to the company's home city, raises eyebrows as much because of what it says about the lack of access researchers have to quality data on voters as it does about who might be affected by new law. Read More

Dems Debate Whose Campaign Tools to Trust: NGP VAN or NationBuilder

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, August 1 2012

As Democratic campaigners search for the best tools to track voters and voter contacts, some of them are looking at working with their voter data in a platform from the upstart nonpartisan firm NationBuilder instead of with software from NGP VAN, which many Democrats have used for years. And two of those candidates have received a strong message from their state Democratic Party organizations: Stick with the tools we’re already using. 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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Tweets2Rue Helps Homeless to Help Themselves Through Twitter

While most solutions to homelessness focus on addressing physical needs -- a roof over the head and food to eat -- one initiative in France known as Tweets2Rue knows that for the homeless, a house is still not a home, so to speak: the homeless are often entrenched in a viscous cycle of social isolation that keeps them invisible and powerless. GO

Oakland's Sudo Mesh Looks to Counter Censorship and Digital Divide With a Mesh Network

In Oakland, a city with deep roots in radical activism and a growing tech scene at odds with the hyper-capital-driven Silicon Valley, those at the Sudo Room hackerspace believe that the solution to a wide range of problems, from censorship to the digital divide, is a mesh net, a type of decentralized network that is resilient to censorship and disruption and can also bring connectivity to poor communities.

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