ATX Political Hackathon

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What is ATX Political Hackathon?

Do you know how to code?  Are you politically progressive?  Do you want to help progressive candidates get elected to office?

Join us for the the ATX Political Hackathon, hosted in partnership with the Texas Democratic Party.  

The Hackathon will take place on November 3rd, 4th and 5th, 2017.   Teams will be asked to come up with creative solutions to common problems faced by candidates, campaigns, voters, and community organizers.  Across the weekend, participants will form teams comprised of front-end and back-end developers as well as political experts (candidates, activists, or others with political expertise) to build a prototype.



Our goal is to enable progressive candidates to win elected office. We'll come up with creative solutions to overcome common problems faced by candidates, campaigns, community organizers, and voters.  

Our goal is also to help you grow your skills and professional network by giving you the opportunity to work alongside other progressively minded developers and technologists.



How it works

Participants will form teams and will be asked to come up with a prototype app, website, or other tool that could be used by candidates, campaigns, voters, and community organizers to help elect progressive candidates.  Although all ideas are welcome, teams are encouraged to focus on solutions that benefit  one of the following four users:

1. Developing a better toolkit for candidates for local office (state representative, city council, sheriff, school board, etc.)

Why focus here?
Candidates for statewide or national office (governor, senate, congress) typically raise millions of dollars and benefit from large networks of volunteers.  They can afford sophisticated tools for digital marketing, data science and voter mobilization.   Candidates for local office have no where near the same level of resources, so running a successful campaign for local office can be more difficult.  We want to empower local candidates with a better toolkit.  If we can lower the barrier to entry to running a successful campaign, hopefully more people will be encouraged to run.  

Sample Ideas

  • What are creative solutions for digital marketing for local candidates?

  • How can local campaigns optimize use of data to better target the right voters about the right issues?

  • How can campaigns more optimally track data from their activities (voter calls, canvassing, etc.)?

  • How could candidates for local office better coordinate and pool their resources?


2. Developing a better toolkit for community organizers and activists

Why focus here?
Community organizers and activists are a key link in the democratic process.  Unlike campaigns, which are geared towards winning an election on a single day, the work of activists is never done.  They constantly work to mobilize the community and ensure our voice is heard.  Sometimes community organizers’ goal is to organize big march or rally;  other times they are focused on making connections with people either in person or by the phone.  Equipping organizers and activists with a better tech toolkit could help them more efficiently conduct their activities and amplify their reach.

Sample Ideas

  • How can organizers use data and tech to maximize impact of marches, rallies, and other community events?

  • What’s the best way to naturally capture data from interactions like phone calls and face-to-face conversations?

  • How can activists working on similar causes work together more efficiently to amplify their impact?


3. How can we empower volunteers to combat our “clustering” problem?

Why focus here?
Let’s face it;  progressives have a problem unique to us.  We cluster.  Although more people self-identify as progressive than conservative across the country, we progressives disproportionately choose to live in cities.  We rack up big electoral margins of victory in the urban core, but outlying candidates in the nearby suburbs suffer from lack of votes and lack of volunteers.  How can we better tap into our central urban core to amplify the impact of willing volunteers who disproportionately  happen to live in the same few zip codes?

Sample ideas:

  • How can more efficiently match willing volunteers to nearby candidates in need of the extra help?

  • How can we better coordinate the efforts of volunteers to benefit a broader swath of campaigns?


4. Voter mobilization / civic engagement

Why focus here?
Progressives can only get elected if voters show up on election day to vote for them.  Unfortunately, many people who would like to vote for progressive candidates face hurdles along the way.  Obtaining voter ID can be a difficult task, particularly for the elderly and for those who do not speak english as a first language.  For some members of our community, finding a way to physically get to their voting location is a huge challenge.  How can technology be used to help voters more effectively navigate those challenges?

 Sample Ideas

  • How could we use technology to assist more people obtain ID?

  • How can we better assist voters in need of a ride to the poll on election day?

  • How do we motivate more people to vote?

  • How could tech boost civic engagement in general?