ATX Political Hackathon

Proposed Projects

The following projects have been suggested. The list at the top is just a summary, but scroll down for full details.  Click "Join this team" on any project to link the the registration form.  Or tell us about your AMAZING idea that is sure to win by submitting a new project.  

Ideas for Helping Voters or Boosting Civic Engagement

  • Chatbot for voters
  • Use positive peer pressure to encourage turnout
  • Map which voters need help getting to the polls
  • BattleGround Texas App for voter mobilization
  • Indivisible Austin - Reaching voters with storytelling
  • Help voters navigate ID requirements
  • Use Google APIs to boost civic engagement
  • Consolidated economic tracker to educate voters


Ideas for Helping Volunteers

  • Matching Volunteers to Causes
  • March On! Texas - Matching Volunteers to Campaigns
  • Optimize canvassing routes


Ideas for Helping Candidates

  • Help candidates fundraise with Cyrptocurrency
  • AI powered social media assistant for Candidates

Helping Voters in need find a ride to the polls

Vertical: Voters

Many voters who are well intentioned to vote don't do so because they struggle to physically get to the polls.  This team is going to come up with an app to help match voters in need of a ride with volunteers willing to drive them.

Team needs:

  • Front end designer
  • Back-end developer lead 

Helping Candidates fundraise with cryptocurrency

Vertical:  Candidates

Maybe this is a niche idea, but many of my friends and I are deeply invested and prefer transacting with cryptocurrency.  I've never seen a political candidate accept cryptocurrency, which is likely due to low knowledge of it and outdated campaign finance law.  We want to figure out how to enable candidates to legally accept cryptocurrency to boost their fundraising potential and to signal support for what we feel is an important monetary system.

Team needs:

  • Web developers
  • Crypto expert
  • Knowledge of campaign finance law

Optimize Matching of Volunteers with Campaigns

Vertical: Volunteers / Candidates 

So many progressives live in big cities, but as soon as you leave the city, it feels like Trumpland.  I know that candidates are running for offices in Bastrop, Leander, and other nearby cities, and our theory is that those campaigns can be strengthened by connecting to the strong volunteer base in the urban core.  

Our team is going to try to tackle how best to connect large numbers of casual volunteers with ways to help nearby campaigns.  Specifically, we want to build an app that accomplishes the following:

  • If I have an hour to kill, I can pick up my phone (I live in Austin) and see which nearby candidates or campaigns are most in need of an hour of my time
  • Using the app, I can understand the candidate's key positions and talking points to ensure I agree, and I can then use the app to call voters to tell them about the candidate
  • Using the app, I can also automatically document any key information, which will be useful to the campaign to hear how voters are responding to the message
  • We also want to gamify the volunteering experience, where if I spend a certain number of hours making calls, canvassing, or contributing in some other way, I can earn badges or points


Team needs:

  • App developer
  • Front end developer
  • Data science? (Integration with Voter Activation Network (VAN) database;  matching algorithm of a volunteer to a campaign;  scoring system for which campaign may be most likely to benefit from extra volunteer effort)
  • Candidate experience (how could this app be made most useful to an actual candidate?)

Optimizing canvassing routes based on address lists

Vertical:  Campaign Volunteers

When it comes to promoting a candidate or a cause, there is no substitute for good ol' fashioned canvassing and block walking.  Face to face conversations can be very impactful at persuading voters, but the effort is hard to scale.  Given the time required, it's important to be as efficient as possible when planning your canvassing route.  The Voter Activation Network (VAN) database can provide addresses of likely progressive voters, but the addresses themselves can be spread out over a large area.   Mapquest can already optimize routes for multiple addresses, but unfortunately there is a hard limit on the number of addresses.  We're going to build an app that can take an address list from VAN and optimize canvassing routes without the same hard limit as mapquest.

Team needs:

  • UX / Design
  • Backend / experience with mapping

Vertical: Voters

This group will build a site to assist people in what Voter Id is required, and the steps to get one if they do not have one. For example, a person may begin with not having proper ID, and the website tells them they need a Drivers License or Resident Card. That may be begin with questions "Do you have a Drivers License". "No" leads to "Do you have a birth certificate" "No" leads "where were you born?", etc to drill down to an immediate actionable step on how to begin this process. Other possible ideas are crowdfunding help for fees such as birth certificate replacement, where users could volunteer to contribute to a pool to cover costs for low income residents who need replacement documents that come as a fee.

Technically speaking expect to write site in AngularJs with AWS API back end using NodeJs/Lambda if necessary.

Team Needs,  1 or 2 each of:

  • Front end JavaScript developers (AngularJs)
  • Graphics design/UI
  • Researchers (gathering ID requirements from states, processes for other documentation, etc)
  • Back end NodeJS/Lambda developers ( framework probably)

Indivisible Austin Project

Indivisible is one of the leading progressive community organizing groups across the country focused on ensuring good governance and a strong democracy.  Indivisible Austin will officially sponsor a hackathon team to solve a challenge of direct interest and benefit to their members.  




Optimizing matching of volunteers with causes

Apart from campaigns, there are dozens of worthy, civic-minded volunteer causes thoughout the year.  This is similar to the project to map volunteers to campaigns, but will focus on helping volunteers find educational, protest, and volunteer opportunities around causes (environment, etc), locations (zip or city), and dates, so that when someone thinks "what can I do now?!", they can find something!

Team Needs:

- Front end developer

- Back end developer

- Experience with either web app or mobile app development


And a new project has started.