Job: Data Analysis & Outreach Fellow

Position: Data Analysis & Outreach Fellow
Location: Chicago or Washington, DC preferred; remote a possibility for qualified applicants
Start Date: July 2018 through December 2018, decision for renewal by November 2018
Salary Range: $50,000 - 65,000 per year (pro-rated)
Benefits: Vision, Dental, & Medical Insurance and Cell Phone Reimbursement
Level: Entry-Mid Level

Position Description

CTCL has conducted extensive research on the demographics of power in the United States through its partnership with the Reflective Democracy Campaign. Our groundbreaking analyses of the race and gender of elected officials and candidates across the country has been featured in national news and has shaped the way we talk about representation in the US. We’re looking to add a full-time Fellow to help make our data even more useful, so that the information and insights it contains can better be used to make our government more modern and reflective.

Working with the Director of Civic Data and our external partners, the Data Analysis & Outreach Fellow will focus on improving, analyzing, and growing the use of our Reflective Democracy dataset. Examples of responsibilities include:

  • Data research & analysis. Finding new ways of expanding and looking at our existing data that help illuminate how well our government reflects its people. Developing case studies and deep-dive analyses on specific subjects. These deep-dives could include analyses of specific geographies, types of elected office, election types or similar topics.
  • Data visualization and reporting.  Developing visualizations and reports to best present our research in interesting and engaging ways.
  • Organizing and outreach. Spreading the reach of our research by engaging with diverse, mission-aligned audiences doing racial justice, civic engagement, policy, and academic work.

Desired Qualifications

A successful candidate for Data Analysis & Outreach Fellow will have a comprehensive understanding of our mission and demonstrate a proven track record of success. In addition, while no candidate will possess every quality, the successful candidate will possess many of the following qualifications and personal attributes:

  • Meticulous attention to detail. You are able to organize non-centralized, non-standard information into a coherent format.
  • Research experience. You have a background in developing quantitative analyses and reports, including creating data visualizations.
  • External outreach skills. You are comfortable contacting people and organizations you haven’t met before to persuade them to form new partnerships.
  • Strong writing skills. You are able to clearly explain complex concepts in plain language.
  • Familiarity with the civic engagement/racial justice landscape. You have a basic understanding of organizations that do non-partisan work around subjects related to the research.
  • Intermediate to Advanced Microsoft Excel skills. You have at least a basic understanding of formulas to manipulate text and execute lookups.
  • Strong sense of curiosity. You take delight in immersing yourself in the rabbit hole of research and in discovering new insights in our data.

About CTCL

CTCL is a non-partisan, non-profit that uses technology to improve the way local governments and communities interact. We do this by providing resources for local election administrators so they can update the ways they use technology to communicate with voters. We also do this by publishing free, open-source civic datasets that are used in some of the most powerful tools that drive civic participation.

To date, we’ve built a knowledge network of hundreds of local election administrators through a program we call ELECTricity. And we have published civic datasets that answer questions like 'What’s on my ballot?' and 'Who represents me?', which have been accessed over 200 million times.

Read more about our work here:

To Apply

Applications will be accepted and interviews will be conducted on a rolling basis. To apply:

  1. Submit a short application at techandciviclife.org/data-analysis-outreach-associate-application and email your resume to data@techandciviclife.org.
  2. People who demonstrate that they are qualified in their application materials will have the opportunity to complete a test.
  3. People who perform well on the test will be asked to participate in an interview(s).
  4. Based on the application, test results, interviews, and reference checks, one person will be selected for the position.

The Center for Technology and Civic Life is proud to be an Equal Opportunity Employer. We encourage people of all races, colors, religions, national origins, sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions, sexes, ages, abilities, branches of military service, and political party affiliations to apply.

Job: Civic Data Research Fellow

Position: Civic Data Research Fellow
Location: Washington, DC
Start Date: June 2018
End Date: November 2018
Salary Range: $48,000 per year (pro-rated)
Benefits: Vision, Dental, & Medical Insurance and Cell Phone Reimbursement
Level: Entry Level

Position Description

“What’s on my ballot?” is the number one question that voters look for online - but the answer to that question is harder to find than you might think. With nearly 8,000 offices responsible for running elections in America, the basic information that voters need to participate in elections is often poorly formatted and hard to find - if it’s online at all. At the Center for Technology and Civic Life, we think all voters should be able to find this information online, and we need your help! In 2016, our ballot data reached between one-third and one-half of all voters in the country, and we expect 2018 to be even bigger.

We’re looking for a set of 2018 Civic Data Fellows to help us standardize the nation’s ballot information, so that all Americans can find information about what will be on their ballot in November. Civic Data Fellows will work closely with our Research Associates and Director of Civic Data to collect and standardize information about candidates and referenda from across the country. If you love democracy, researching obscure facts, and turning chaos into order, this is the job for you!

Responsibilities

  • Research: Lead efforts in creating and updating our dataset of candidates and issues on voters’ General Election ballots.
  • Quality Assurance: Work with the Research Associates and Director of Civic Data to implement data quality checks to ensure the accuracy and completeness of data.
  • Issue Support: Once the data goes live, respond to user feedback in real time.

Desired Qualifications

A successful candidate for Civic Data Fellow will have a comprehensive understanding of our mission and demonstrate a proven track record of success. In addition, while no candidate will possess every quality, the successful candidate will possess many of the following qualifications and personal attributes:

  • Ability to organize non-centralized, non-standard information into a coherent format.
  • Basic knowledge of American politics, elections, and/or election administration.
  • Demonstrated research experience.
  • Excellent communication skills, particularly by telephone.
  • Experience with political data and/or Excel.
  • Passion for learning.
  • Thrives in an intensive and outcome-driven work culture.
  • Tech-savvy and eagerness to learn to use new tools and technology.

About CTCL

CTCL is a non-partisan, non-profit that uses technology to improve the way local governments and communities interact. We do this by providing resources for local election administrators so they can update the ways they use technology to communicate with voters. We also do this by publishing free, open-source civic datasets that are used in some of the most powerful tools that drive civic participation.

To date, we’ve built a knowledge network of hundreds of local election administrators through a program we call ELECTricity. And we have published civic datasets that answer questions like 'What’s on my ballot?' and 'Who represents me?', which have been accessed over 200 million times.

Read more about our work here:

To Apply

Applications will be accepted and interviews will be conducted on a rolling basis. To apply:

  1. Submit a short application at techandciviclife.org/civic-data-research-fellow-application and email your resume to data@techandciviclife.org.
  2. People who demonstrate that they are qualified in their application materials will have the opportunity to complete a test.
  3. People who perform well on the test will be asked to participate in an interview(s).
  4. Based on the application, test results, interviews, and reference checks, one person will be selected for the position.

The Center for Technology and Civic Life is proud to be an Equal Opportunity Employer. We encourage people of all races, colors, religions, national origins, sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions, sexes, ages, abilities, branches of military service, and political party affiliations to apply.

Save the Dates: Cybersecurity Online Training Series for Election Officials

Data breaches, ransomware, and denial of service attacks are becoming regular headlines in America. Cyber attacks are a reality of modern private and public sector operations, including election administration. Election officials are uniquely positioned on the front lines to help safeguard our democracy while ensuring that each vote counts.

To help you rise to the challenge, the Center for Technology and Civic Life (CTCL) is partnering with the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) to deliver a new cybersecurity training series designed for election officials this July and August.

By bringing together the cybersecurity expertise of CDT with the teaching style of CTCL, the training series offers you accessible levels of technical knowledge coupled with practical next steps—all in an engaging, interactive online classroom environment.

The series will include 3 courses, only $50 each, to empower your election office to manage cyber threats and communicate with the public about cybersecurity. 

After completing the series, you’ll have more confidence to safeguard against and respond to cyber threats in your election office. Seats are limited, so be sure to register today!

 

Courses

July 10 & August 28
1:00 – 2:30pm CT

Cybersecurity 101: Introduction
- Understand cybersecurity terminology
- Identify types of cyber threats
- Create stronger login practices

July 24 & August 29
1:00 – 2:30pm CT

Cybersecurity 201: Intermediate
- Manage access to devices and networks
- Safeguard your election data
- Develop partnerships to overcome security challenges

July 31 & August 30
1:00 – 2:30pm CT

Cybersecurity 301: Communications
- Make a cyber incident response plan
- Inform the public about your office’s security leadership
- Build media allies

 

Led by


CTCL's Executive Director Selected as 2018 Obama Foundation Fellow

Selected out of more than 20,000 applicants from 191 countries, the Center for Technology and Civic Life’s executive director, Tiana Epps-Johnson, is joining a diverse set of civic innovators from around the world in the inaugural Obama Foundation Fellows Class.

This first class of Fellows brings together 20 individuals representing 11 countries across the globe, who are confronting many of the world’s most pressing problems through civic innovation. Fellows are organizers, inventors, artists, entrepreneurs, educators, and more. They bring together a variety of disciplines and apply their knowledge to a range of missions.

"I am so excited for this opportunity to learn with and from other people who are tackling big civic challenges”, says Tiana. “And I'm beyond grateful for this investment in my leadership. I look forward to growing the ways I'm able to support the work we're doing at CTCL to modernize the U.S. voting system so that it works for all of us."

The two-year, non-residential Fellowship will give Tiana and other selected Fellows hands-on training and exposure to help them amplify the impact of their work while inspiring other civic innovators.

Fellows will participate in four multi-day gatherings to collaborate with one another, connect with potential partners, and break down silos to advance their work. The first Fellows gathering will be in Chicago in May.

Each Fellow will also develop and pursue with the Foundation a personalized plan to leverage the fellowship and Obama Foundation resources to take their work to the next level. As Fellows put their plans into action, the Obama Foundation will assist with access to mentors, coaches, and additional resources.

“The 2018 Obama Foundation Fellows come from diverse backgrounds but share a common desire to make positive change and create the world as it should be,” said David Simas, CEO of the Obama Foundation. “By bringing these individuals together, we hope to help amplify the work of our Fellows so it has a widespread impact. On behalf of President and Mrs. Obama and the Obama Foundation family, I congratulate our new Fellows and look forward to working with them.”

Find out more about the Obama Foundation Fellowship at www.obama.org/fellowship. Join the conversation on Twitter using #ObamaFellows.

Tiana Epps-Johnson is the Founder and Executive Director of the Center for Technology and Civic Life. Prior to CTCL, she was the New Organizing Institute's Election Administration Director. At the Center, she and her team provide resources and training to support local election administrators in modernizing the ways they communicate with voters. They also publish free, open-source civic datasets that have been accessed over 200 million times through some of the most powerful tools that drive civic participation. Tiana holds an MSc in Politics and Communication from the London School of Economics and a BA in Political Science from Stanford University. Additionally, in 2015 Tiana was selected as an inaugural member of the Technology and Democracy fellowship at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the Harvard Kennedy School.

2018 Ballot Information Project Data Now Available

It’s springtime (even if it might not feel like it where you are quite yet), and that means longer days, the return of baseball, and--of course--ballot data from CTCL’s Civic Data team! Texas and Illinois have already had their primaries, which means that the Ballot Information Project (BIP) is officially underway for the 2018 November General Election. Federal and statewide candidate data for those two states are already ready for your consumption, and we’re just getting started!

BIP, in addition to being an incredibly fun acronym to pronounce, is CTCL’s effort to collect, standardize, and put online the answer to the most commonly asked question in American democracy: “What’s on my ballot?” BIP collects nationwide candidate and contest information down to the hyperlocal level (mosquito control boards, anyone?) and matches that data to political geography via Open Civic Data Identifiers. We also collect ballot measures, office descriptions, and information on how to learn more about or contact candidates. You can learn more about what BIP covers on our Frequently Asked Questions page.

Since 2012, BIP data has been accessed over 200 million times. Thanks to partnerships with organizations like Google and Facebook, in 2016 BIP had the largest reach of any non-profit voter information project, ever. By putting civic answers that in some cases do not exist online in the places people are already looking for information, we help make sure that everyone has an opportunity to cast informed votes all the way down the ballot.  We look forward to continuing this success with our partners in 2018!

But our partnerships aren’t just limited to large technology organizations. Often, the most impactful use of our data comes from smaller, more local organizations and projects--and we’d love for yours to be one of them! We welcome and support partners of all scales. In the past this has included organizations like First Vote NC, who uses BIP data to create realistic election simulations for high school students around election time. We are always on the lookout for new and exciting projects to support, and would love to hear from you!

If you are a developer or a member of an organization that wants to use BIP data to build a civic engagement tool, please reach out to data@techandciviclife.org. Our data is free to use for 501(c)(3) nonprofits, small companies, and other educational users. If you don’t qualify for free use, we can work with your organization to put together a data licensing contract that suits both your needs and your budget.

Getting early access to our feeds allows you to build product on live data before it’s published in places like the Google Civic Information API. When the data does go live in the API, it will be in the same structure you’ve worked with all year, allowing you to seamlessly integrate the API’s more powerful functionality if you so choose.

On CTCL’s Civic Data team, we do the legwork of collecting and standardizing this basic information so that civic engagement organizations can spend more time focusing on the parts of the work that matter to them. Let us help you save countless hours making phone calls to election officials--and save the election officials from those calls, too!

PS: We do more than just data! If you need any extra assistance with the implementation or strategic development of your tools, we also offer a range of consulting services - email data@techandciviclife.org for more information!

CTCL Online Training Series Reaches New Audiences of Election Officials

The CTCL Government Services team advances the digital, data, and design skills of election officials through our professional development training. And to make our training more convenient and affordable for every election office, we started delivering 90-minute online courses in 2017.

Our 2017 Summer School training series was a big success, so to follow up on that experience we kicked off another online training program in February 2018.

We began by offering the original 4 Summer School courses for those election officials who may have missed them.

  • Social Media for Voter Engagement
  • Improving Your Election Website

  • Accessible Communication for Election Offices

  • Collecting, Analyzing, Visualizing Election Data

In addition, we introduced 2 brand new courses that cover topics that election officials told us they're interested in.

Election officials shopped for the 2 new courses on the CTCL website

Participants included election officials representing 3 states/provinces, 28 counties, and 3 cities. Most notably, with 7 members of the Elections Ontario team in attendance, our training reached an international audience for the very first time.

We’re proud that CTCL courses are useful for any size jurisdiction, and that was evident in the Online Series. Staff from large election jurisdictions like Los Angeles County, CA (with over 6,000,000 registered voters) worked alongside staff from small jurisdictions like the Town of Burrillville, RI (with just over 11,000 registered voters).

In total, the election officials who attended the Online Series serve over 40 million U.S. and Canadian voters.

Election officials from the U.S. and Canada attended the online training

Overall, the CTCL training program continues to show growth -- the 2018 Online Series premiered new curricula and connected new audiences of election officials to each other and to CTCL’s expertise.

We’re excited to offer 3 new, specialized courses this summer, so be on the lookout for additional information on the next online series in the coming weeks.

Want to learn more about the training that CTCL offers to election officials? Check out our professional development courses. Have a suggestion or question about training? Email us at courses@techandciviclife.org.

CTCL Civic Data Research in the News

The CTCL Civic Data team is gearing up for a big year in 2018 -- stay tuned for announcements about our data release schedule -- but last week our past years’ research was again in the national spotlight.

Since 2015, CTCL has partnered with the Women Donors Network’s Reflective Democracy campaign on research into the demographics of candidates and elected officials. This research takes our existing candidate and elected official datasets and adds race and gender, through both independent research and matching to existing modeled data. Our 2015 research on the race and gender of prosecutors, which was featured in the New York Times, found that 95% of elected prosecutors in the United States were white and nearly 80% were white men. This research was again highlighted in the March 14th episode of Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, in her segment about prosecutorial discretion. You can watch the clip, with our research appearing around the 2:50 mark, here. [Heads up: the clip includes some salty language.]

More recently, CTCL & WDN’s Reflective Democracy research was included as part of Cosmopolitan’s How to Run for Office feature. This series, appearing both online and in print, focused on personal stories and articles encouraging women across the political spectrum to run for elective office. On March 13, the 2018 National Magazine Awards for Print and Digital Media (known as the Ellies for the award’s pachydermous shape) honored the series with the Ellie in the Personal Service category.

CTCL is proud of the role our research plays in supporting award winning journalism, and we look forward to continuing our work to help understand how communities across the country work with and are represented by their government.

CTCL Hosts Third Annual Ballot Data Convening

Illuminated sign directing attendees to the 2018 Ballot Data Convening at Google DC

Illuminated sign directing attendees to the 2018 Ballot Data Convening at Google DC

In late January, CTCL’s civic data team hosted the third annual Ballot Data Convening, at Google’s Washington, DC offices. As with previous years, the Democracy Fund sponsored convening brought together a wide range of organizations that use ballot data to drive civic participation. This year, attendees ran the spectrum from small civic engagement organizations to large tech companies, and included representatives from the worlds of funders, academia, and government. 

All told 38 individuals from 25 organizations were in attendance for a full day of discussions, kicked off with a happy hour the night before sponsored by Microsoft. Topics covered during the convening included opportunities and challenges for collaboration in 2018, how we as a community can get better at measuring who our work impacts and how, and an update on the ballot data working groups from 2017.

In small groups, then in plenary, the morning was focused on discussing the work ahead of us in 2018. Participants highlighted the heightened energy and public interest in elections going into 2018 as an opportunity for driving increased participation. On the other hand, this increased attention also brings additional scrutiny, and more candidates running for office means more work to do prior to the election. The group also discussed the implications of new federal and state initiatives on our work, particularly around cybersecurity. All told, those in attendance were pleased with the progress we’ve made and institutional knowledge we’ve built as a community over the past years, but emphasized that challenges like a lack of funding and tight timelines as continued issues. A full set of notes of this discussion as taken on the day of the meeting can be found here

We also spent time as a group discussing how we think about the impact of our work. This included discussing answers to pre-convening survey questions around who organizations viewed as their target audience and what behaviors they hoped to produce. These questions drew a wide range of responses. Some groups use surveys and randomized experiments to explore the answers to these questions, while others had little to no resources available explicitly for measurement. This disparity in measurement resources, as well as inherent limitations in some groups’ ability to access data from partners, will be a key ongoing discussion topic in working groups throughout 2018.

Afternoon sessions were focused on updates on working groups’ progress and breakouts on their subject areas. Representatives from Democracy Works and the National States Geographic Information Council gave updates on their work on identifiers and political geography, respectively, and CTCL gave updates on the audience & impact working group as well as the data & sources group. 

A summary of resources shared at the convening, including notes, attendees, and slides, can be found here. Stay tuned in this space or join our civic data mailing list for updates as more formalized findings and resources are rolled out!

CTCL celebrates its 3rd birthday

2017 was another year of growth and impact for our small, but mighty team. We’re excited to share our 2017 highlights and a sneak peak at what we’re up to this year.

Building a network of advisors

At CTCL, we know that teamwork makes the dream work. In February 2017, we recruited an Advisory Committee to shape our curriculum and expand the reach of our Government Services work. The Advisory Committee is comprised of 8 election experts from across the country.

To date, we've convened four times to discuss updates to the Election Toolkit, ideas for new courses, and civic data. Our advisors have been instrumental to strengthening the CTCL brand and helping us reach more election officials. Because of their outreach, our ELECTricity network grew to over 1,000 members in 2017.

Stay up to date on the work of our Advisory Committee (and other highlights throughout the year) by visiting our blog.

Fostering civic data collaboration

In March 2017 CTCL’s Civic Data team hosted our second ballot data convening at Google DC. This annual meeting, which is made possible with support from Democracy Fund, brought together 37 people from 24 organizations that collect ballot data and/or build voter-facing ballot tools.

The 2017 convening had three objectives:

  1. Share learnings from the 2016 election cycle.
  2. Identify concrete ways we as a field can improve ballot data collection and expand civic data’s impact.
  3. Launch working groups to implement mutually identified solutions.

Following the March convening, working groups were formed to collaborate in four areas:

  • political geography,
  • data collection & sources,
  • identifiers, and
  • audience & impact.

Since the 2017 convening, the working groups have already made concrete advancements in each issue area. This includes completing an analysis of the state of states’ GIS systems based on surveying done by new working group member the National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC), creating a new governance structure for Open Civic Data Identifiers, conducting a shared research scan on audiences and impact for civic engagement, and beginning the process for sharing primary-source information among ballot data collection groups.

And this work has continued into 2018! In January we held our third convening in Washington, DC. Together we reflected on our 2017 collaboration and identified priorities for our 2018 work.

Interested in learning more about our work to foster collaboration among ballot data groups? Check out our resource hub from the 2018 ballot convening.

Launching online professional development courses for election officials

The CTCL Government Services team advances the tech skills of election officials through professional development. To keep our courses convenient, affordable, and practical, we decided to deliver the content in a modern way -- through an online classroom.

With the guidance and insight of our Advisory Committee, we prepared condensed, 90-minute versions of our most popular courses:

  • Social Media for Voter Engagement,
  • Improving Your Election Website,
  • Accessible Communication for Election Offices, and
  • Collection, Analyzing, and Visualizing Election Data.

Courses were offered on successive Wednesdays in July and August of 2017.

Our experiment with online curriculum delivery was a success! Attendees ranged from large election authorities like Dallas County, Texas (with 1.29 million registered voters) to small jurisdictions like the city of Houghton, Michigan (home to 3,056 registered voters). All told, we had 102 election officials representing 34 county, 8 municipal, and 3 state offices. Together, these officials administer elections for over 17 million voters.

And we’ve kicked 2018 off with another online training opportunity for election officials.

Is your election office looking for new training this year? You can register now for affordable online courses throughout February, including 2 new courses for 2018 -- Messages that Motivate Voters and Poll Worker Management Best Practices.

Quantifying the state of representation

In October, CTCL’s Civic Data team released an update to our Reflective Democracy dataset in partnership with Womens Donor Network. 2017 marked our third update to this dataset that tracks the race and gender of elected officials and candidates. This dataset helps organizations and constituents understand what their government looks like, and who is (and is not) represented.

Our 2017 data release was featured in Cosmopolitan’s Run for Office package as well as in the Washington Post. And for the first time, the dataset not only included all federal, state, and county officeholders and candidates, but also included city-level officials and candidates.

Are you interested in doing your own analysis? You can access the datasets from 2012, 2014, and 2016 at wholeads.us.

Providing ongoing election support

Elections don’t only happen in even years. In fall 2017, CTCL’s Ballot Information Project was in full-swing covering statewide elections in New Jersey and Virginia, as well as every election in cities with a population over 130,000 people.

With a smaller volume of data to collect, our Civic Data Team was able to use the odd-year election as an opportunity to develop and refine our internal systems while also providing data to partners including FirstVote North Carolina, We Vote, and Rock the Vote.

We were delighted that thousands of voters were able to learn what was on their ballot through tools powered by our data. And are looking forward to using our new internal systems to grow our 2018 data offerings.

Curious about what elections we’re supporting in 2018? Find out about data releases (and other CTCL happenings) on our Events page.

Building tools for election officials

In addition to providing professional development opportunities for election officials, CTCL’s Government Services team helps election officials use free and low-cost tools to promote civic engagement and make voting easier. The Election Toolkit is an online home for a variety of resources that meet this need.

In partnership with software developer Mark Pelczarski, and with support from the MIT Election Data and Science Lab, we collected data in November 2017 that will power a new tool in the Election Toolkit: the voting time estimator. The voting time estimator will help election officials understand how long it will take a voter to cast a ballot based on the number and types of races and issues that are on the ballot. This type of data will allow election officials to make resource allocation decisions to minimize voter wait times at polling places.

Accurate estimations require lots of quality data. To refine voting time estimations we recruited 8 jurisdictions to measure the time voters spent with a variety of different ballot styles in November 2017. Overall, we gathered 4,816 voting times from 45 polling places. This data, along with others from past elections, will power this new tool which is scheduled to be added to the Toolkit is Spring 2018.

Curious about other other free and low-cost tools for election officials? Visit electiontools.org.

Growing our team

At CTCL our small but mighty team is getting less small and more mighty. In 2017 we added three new positions.

In January, Victoria Nguyen joined our team as our Government Services outreach associate. Victoria has developed beautiful digital and print content to spread the word about our Government Services work and is the lead on our training outreach strategy.

We welcomed Henry Chan as our Civic Data research associate in August of 2017. Henry became a full-time staff member after nearly a year as a research fellow on the Civic Data team. Henry keeps our Governance Project dataset fresh year-round and will be leading our 2018 Ballot Information Project collection efforts.

And in January 2018 Noma Thayer joined our team as operations manager. Noma will be the lead on CTCL internal operations, making sure that we run like a well-oiled machine.

This growth was made possible in part by renewed general operating support in 2017 from both the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Democracy Fund. Each foundation committed up to $500,000 over two years.

Do you want to join the CTCL team? We’re currently hiring a Civic Data Research Associate.

Keeping up the momentum in 2018

Our team has hit the ground running in 2018. From our third annual ballot data convening to our February online training series, we’re already delivering 2018 content to modernize how local government and communities interact.

And we have a lot in store. Stay tuned for new trainings for election officials on topics including cybersecurity and best practices for automatic voter registration implementation. And be on the lookout for new data releases, including candidate and referenda information all the way down to the special district level this fall.

We’ll be posting updates year-round on our blog and events pages.

Thank you for your continued support!

How We Helped Election Officials Learn in 2017

2017 was a busy year for CTCL’s professional development program. We convened a group of insightful advisors to help steer the direction of our training, offered our first-ever series of online courses, and traveled nationwide to work with election officials in their offices.

All told, we trained more than 300 officials in 15 states!

Follow along as we reflect on a year of visiting new places, meeting new people, and learning together.

By the way, if you’re interested in learning with CTCL in 2018, get in touch with us!

The Advisory Committee

At CTCL, we strive to be reflective. So, to get feedback on our courses and ideas for growth, we put together an Advisory Committee in early 2017, inviting some of the best and brightest in the election field to share perspectives on professional development.

Advisors Toni Pippins-Poole, Grace Wachlarowicz, and Tim Tsujii reviewing course outlines

Advisors Toni Pippins-Poole, Grace Wachlarowicz, and Tim Tsujii reviewing course outlines

Starting with a kickoff meeting in Chicago last March, our Advisors have played an invaluable role in helping us improve our offerings and reach fresh audiences. We owe much of our impact in 2017 to their advice and support.

Harford County, Maryland

When we first spoke with officials from the Harford County Board of Elections at a conference, they shared a challenge that they were dealing with: wanting to improve their website. Soon, we were traveling to Maryland to provide guidance for remodeling their site and advancing their Twitter skills. 

Participants discussing social media strategy in Harford County

Participants discussing social media strategy in Harford County

Since we worked with them, the Harford County Board of Elections Twitter account has become known for its fun and engaging content, even being recognized in an ElectionLine article.

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Minneapolis and Minnesota are known for being ahead of the curve when it comes to election administration. So, when we worked with Minneapolis’s Elections and Voter Services Division, we helped the staff build upon an already strong foundation of skills regarding social media, data, and communicating online.

Officials in Minneapolis learning how to work with datasets

Officials in Minneapolis learning how to work with datasets

In the months following our social media course, the Division’s Twitter account has more than doubled its number of followers and, like Harford County, was spotlighted in ElectionLine.

Summer School

Held in July and August, our online series of Summer School courses was our breakout success of 2017. The courses brought together over 100 election officials from jurisdictions as big as Dallas County, Texas (population: 2.6 million) and as small as Houghton, Michigan (population: 8,000). 

We were excited to see how the low cost and convenience of online learning can bring people together.

Kurt and Whitney preparing to go live in the Summer School control room

Kurt and Whitney preparing to go live in the Summer School control room

If you missed Summer School, don’t worry: we’re offering the same four courses again this February, and we’re adding two brand new courses: Messages to Motivate Voters and Poll Worker Management Best Practices. 

Check out the details on our Online Series web page

St. Louis County, Missouri

If you’re just getting started with social media, you need to know the basics. But if you have more experience, it’s valuable to get an assessment of your work and guidance to improve. That’s what we provided for the St. Louis County Board of Elections in a custom online course.

Covering Facebook Insights with St. Louis County

Covering Facebook Insights with St. Louis County

Identifying work done well and areas for improvement, we offered lots of ideas to stimulate discussion and help the Board get more from its social media outreach.

Edwards County, Kansas

Until September, Edwards County was one of many small, rural counties without a website to provide civic information to the public. Using the website template created by CTCL, we helped the Edwards County Clerk set up web infrastructure and discussed best practices for civic communication online. 

Working with the Edwards County Clerk’s office staff

Working with the Edwards County Clerk’s office staff

Since its launch, www.edwardscountyelections.org has been the subject of local media coverage and has received thousands of page views.

San Francisco, California

We rounded out 2017 with a trip to the West Coast, training large groups of election officials at the San Francisco Department of Elections. To meet the needs of the Department, we prepared an in-depth, tailored course on using election data and joined it with shorter sessions on social media and accessible communication. 

Discussing accessible communication with officials in San Francisco

Discussing accessible communication with officials in San Francisco

Participants appreciated getting to create customized maps using San Francisco data, and we felt privileged to work with such a big group of dedicated election folks. 

What’s next 

With 2017 in the rearview mirror, we’re excited to continue cultivating our professional development courses and expand our curricula in this midterm election year. 

It’s our goal to reach new groups of curious election officials in 2018, and we’re hoping to see you in our classroom -- whether it’s online or face to face -- in the months ahead.