October 27, 2012

Rate Your Voting Experience on Election Day

THE ASH Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University has unveiled MyFairElection.com, a new crowd sourced election monitoring platform that allows voters across the United States to rate the quality of their voting experience during Election Day on November 6, 2012.

Archon Fung, the creator, said, "We hope that the results of MyFairElection collects will democratize the assessment of our nation's electoral institutions in their role administering the most fundamental right of modern democracies."

On Election Day, voters will be able to access MyFairElection via smart phone, laptop, or destop computer to describe and rate the quality of their voting experience: five stars for fulfilling experience at the ballot box or one star for very long lines, broken machines, or intimidation. Voters will also be able to record wait times, comment about their experience, report problems, and upload photos. In addition, MyFairElection will also supply voters with the location of their polling place, voter identification requirements, and other Election Day information such as current average wait times.

Both real-time during Election Day and afterwards, MyFairElection will aggregate voter-provided data into heat maps and other data-rich displays to identify and display the quality of electoral access across the country. The site will allow voters to identify and locate problems as they emerge in real time, compare and rank states and localities according to the quality of access to the vote they provide, and share the experience exercising their right and ability to vote.

October 15, 2012

Creating a Smarter City with Technology

SAN FRANCISCO tech icons have made a new video imagining what civic technology could do for a "smarter city."

sf.citi, short for San Francisco Citizens Initiative for Technology and Innovation, is a nonprofit organization created by a consortium of San Francisco technology leaders to leverage the power of the technology community around civic action in San Francisco.

Watch their video below.

October 12, 2012

Youth Engagement Falls, Registration Also Declines

YOUNG VOTERS are significantly less engaged in this year's election than at a comparable point in 2008 and now lag far behind older voters in interest in the campaign and intention to vote. The share of voters younger than 30 who are following campaign news very closely is roughly half what it was at this point four years ago (18%, down from 35%). Just 63% of young registered voters say they definitely plan to vote this year, down from 72% four years ago.

No only are young registered voters less engaged, but fewer young people are registered to vote. In all Pew Research Center polling conducted over the course of 2012, only half of adults under 30 say they are absolutely certain that they are registered. This compares with 61% in 2008 and 57% in 2004. Registration rates typically rise over the course of election years, but for youth voter registration to reach 2008 levels the figures will have to shift decidedly over the coming days.

Read more here >

October 2, 2012

Seattle Police Department Uses Twitter to Report Crime in Neighborhoods

EUGENE O'DONNELL, a professor of police studies at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan, describes the Seattle Police Department's use of Twitter in a project called, "Tweets by beat," trailblazing. "It shows a willingness I haven't seen in large supply to really affirmatively make available, warts and all, a clear picture to people of what's going on."

The business of policing, as cops have known since at least the first bobbies on the beat, is partly about being seen on the job, having a local presence, even if it is just twirling a baton down the avenue.

But does "local" mean the same thing in the disembodied chatter of social media? The Seattle Police Department, which presides over one of the nation's most tech-savvy - if not saturated - cities, is diving in to find out, in a project that began last week with 51 hyper-local neighborhood Twitter accounts providing moment-to-moment crime reports.

Read more here >