The Knight Foundation News Challenge on Elections is an open call for ideas that might inform voters and increase civic participation before, during, and after elections. The Center for Technology and Civic Life is rising to that challenge with two submissions - one featuring our civic data program and another that focuses on our local election administrator network. Please visit the News Challenge platform and share your feedback about our ideas. See below for details.
You have a question about your property taxes, but how do you know if you should contact your County Tax Collector or County Assessor? Your county school board is discussing the future of your child’s school - when is the meeting, and how can you sign up to speak? Your County Commission has proposed legislation about installing bike lanes in your neighborhood, but how would you - someone who isn’t hanging out on your County Clerk’s website - find out about it?
CTCL publishes a dataset of elected officials that has connected millions of people with information about who represents them. But knowing your representatives is only effective if you also know what they do and how you can engage with them. Introducing the Local Office Function Index (LOFI) - a standardized, open-source dataset of what local governments do, and how communities can interact with them. With this dataset, organizations can build their own tools for civic engagement, making it easier for community members to engage with their local government.
Local election offices are a trusted information source for voters, yet they are often underfunded and cannot invest in the best communication tools. What if local officials, regardless of their resources, could easily share information that is most relevant to voters?
The Civic Engagement Toolkit for Local Election Officials provides officials with tested resources that help them engage the people they serve in ways that are meaningful, convenient, and measurable, in a format that is easy to deploy. The all-star team brings together design experts, election geeks, and six officials from three counties who have 127 years of local government experience.
If you are excited about CTCL’s work, please visit the News Challenge website to applaud, comment on, and share our submissions.