Following their 2014 successes delivering civic information to millions of voters and connecting hundreds of election officials across the country, the New Organizing Institute’s (NOI) Election Administration team is transitioning into its own organization, The Center for Technology and Civic Life. The Center for Technology and Civic Life (CTCL) is non-partisan, non-profit organization focused on increasing civic participation by modernizing engagement between local government and the people they serve. CTCL focuses its efforts in three main areas:
- Training local government on how to use technology to enhance the civic livelihood of their communities;
- Developing free/low-cost tools for government where there are clear needs; and
- Aggregating civic data sets and developing infrastructure that enables the flow of information and interactions between government and the people they are serving.
CTCL will continue a number of programs focused on supporting institutions and developing infrastructure for civic participation. Current NOI programs that are moving to the Center include:
- The Governance Project, which provides a standardized dataset of federal, state, and local elected officials nationwide. This data also includes website, social media, and contact information for these officials, and is tied to political geography through Open Civic Data Identifiers.
- The Ballot Information Project, which aggregates and standardizes candidate & referenda information of a similar scope for major elections. Both the Governance Project and Ballot Information Project datasets are open-source and are available for free via the Google Civic Information API, where they’ve been accessed over 50 million times since 2012.
- ELECTricity, which connects local election administrators from across the country, helps build and share resources that improve elections. In addition to its training and collaboration components, in 2014 ELECTricity launched a pilot program that helps under-resourced election offices build websites. The websites are carefully designed so voters can easily find the information they are looking for most, and the user-friendly and free platform allows election administrators to maintain their own websites.
The Center for Technology and Civic Life is headed by Executive Director Tiana Epps-Johnson, formerly the head of NOI’s Election Administration department. Also joining from NOI are co-founders Whitney May, who leads the ELECTricity project, and Donny Bridges, who heads CTCL’s civic data programs.