Center for Technology and Civic Life
Organized by: Tiana Epps-Johnson
Event Name: Women Startup Challenge
Help us move local government from fax to FAQs
CTCL is a nonpartisan, nonprofit that uses technology to improve the way local governments and communities interact. We do this by:
- Helping local government officials build tech skills and share best practices with one another – with a current focus on the folks who run elections.
- Building free and low cost tools tailored to the needs of the officials we work with.
- Extending the reach of information published by local government by aggregating & standardizing nationwide datasets of answers to some of people’s most pressing civic questions.
We’ve built a network of over 300 local election officials through a program we call ELECTricity. Working with this community we’ve created an easily deployable website template for local election offices, designed using tested principles developed specifically for civic content.
Recognizing that these offices are operating under tight budgets and with limited tech staff, we prioritized ease of use and maintenance. We pair the template with in-person and online training options for election officials who are familiar with the Internet but have no professional background in technology. Modules include instruction on how to:
- Populate & maintain the site,
- Write in plain language,
- Format & publish standardized election data, and
- Use web analytics to understand the questions communities have.
Through our Governance Project and Ballot Information Project we aggregate answers to the most commonly searched for civic questions in a format that allows for maximal use. These datasets are used in some of the most powerful tools that drive civic participation including the Google Civic API. To date our data have been accessed over 60 million times.