ATX Political Hackathon

hackathondesign_WEBSITE BANNER.jpg

Before the Hackathon...

In the weeks leading up to the Hackathon, we'll post teams and project ideas to the website as they form.   Participants can scan projects and connect with others ahead of time, or you can just wait until the kick-off to find your team.  


During the Hackathon

The goal will be for participants to work with their teams to come up with creative solutions to common problems.  Along the way, we want to help develop your skills and your professional network, so the agenda features a mix of social opportunities along with opportunities to work alongside and learn from seasoned experts.  

To help you in your quest, teams will have access to data outputs from the Texas Democratic Party's Voter Activation Network (VAN) database, which is a massive database of past voter behavior.  Project ideas can benefit from this real world data asset.

The specific agenda will be...


November 3

Kickoff Happy Hour

6:00 PM

6:45 PM CEO Panel

7:30 PM Initial Pitches /
               Team networking


The weekend will get started on Friday night with a kick-off party.  We've invited tech leaders from across town, political leaders, candidates, and hackathon participants;  in short, it will be a unique networking opportunity to celebrate the start of the weekend.  Participants can also meet eachother, swap ideas, and finalize teams.  We'll also hear from several local tech leaders about how the tech community can better mobilize in support of progressive policies, and how doing so can in turn create a stronger tech industry.  

CEO Panelist include:

  • Mark Strama, Executive at Google Fiber (and former Founder and CEO of
  • Charles Thornburgh, Founder and CEO of Civitas Learning
  • Brett Hurt, Founder and CEO of Data.World (and former Founder and CEO of BazaarVoice)
  • Mellie Price, Executive Director of Commercialization at Dell Medical School (and former Founder and CEO of Front Gate Tickets)
  • Whurley, Founder of HonestDollar 
  • Ainee Athar, Innovation Consultant to City of Austin (and former Texas Director of

Immediately following the CEO Panel, Hackathon Team Captains will give their one minute pitch to the room.  After the pitches, participants still looking for a team can track down the idea they are most interested in, and our panel of tech leaders will also visit each team to offer initial advice and guidance.  

November 4

Day 1

Begins at 9:00

Optional trainings:  9:00 to 10:00

Ends at 5:00

Teams will each have their own space to collaborate to work on their ideas.  Teams will also have access to subject matter mentors who can help answer questions as they arise.  

Coffee, lunch and refreshments will be provided.

Teams can relocate at 5:00 if they wish to continue working later into the evening.

Optional Training Sessions 9:00 to 10:00 (can only pick 1)

  • Overview of Voter Activation Network (VAN) The Senior Solutions Architect from NGP VAN along with the Data Director for the Texas Democratic Party will provide an overview of their existing Voter Activation Network (VAN) database, which will be made available to teams as a potential input into your project.  You should attend this session if your idea needs a data input from the existing voter database.
  • Training on Accessible Design  This training will discuss how to design websites, apps, and other tools to ensure they are  accessible to all users.  A significant number of Americans live with a visual impairment or other disability that can make it difficult to interact with apps and technology.  Accessible design is a key aspect to consider to ensure our tools meet the needs of all possible users.  You should attend this training if you are a front end designer or candidate and want to beef up on your skills with ensuring your tools are accessible.
  • Training on Scrum Techniques for Hackathons Teamwork can be hard.  Ensuring that teams are designing and building with the end in mind is an important skill.  Join Laura Malcolm, Senior Vice President of Strategy at Civitas Learning and a two-time CODiE Award recipient for product design to review simple but important techniques that can keep your team designing with the end in mind. 

November 5

Day 2

Begins at 9:00

Projects due at 5:00

Judging begins shortly after 5:00

Winner announced by 6:30

Winning team enjoys eternal glory

Teams will continue working on their ideas up until 5:00.   Coffee, lunch and refreshments will be provided throughout the day.  All projects must be submitted by 5:00 sharp.  Judging will begin immediately thereafter.

During judging, teams will be given 5 minutes to present their idea.  Ideas will be scored based on the following criteria:

  • Potential impact.   How many voters could be influenced or touched by the idea?
  • Technical feasibility.  Could the project be cost effective at the proposed scale?
  • Technical merits.  How impressive is the overall design and execution of the proposed solution?

Following presentations, judges will confer to compare scores and will announce a winner.

In addition to the pride of victory, the winning team will receive a prize.  Prizes are as follows:

  • First Place Team:  Meeting with Raffi Krikorian, CTO of the Democratic National Committee, former Engineering Director of Uber's Advanced Technologies Center
  • Second Place Team:  Lunch with Chair of Texas Democratic Party and key members of TDP tech team