Takeaways from Last Week’s Voting and Elections Events
My recent collaboration with Initiativv:
Last week, we had the opportunity to attend two events on recent innovations in voting and elections: “The Future of Voting” in San Francisco, California and the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) Election Data Summit in Washington, D.C.
Hosted by CivicMakers, We Vote USA, and Brigade, “The Future of Voting” celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act with an insightful discussion of voting and election technology. The event highlighted the importance of accessibility, transparency, and accountability as technology continues to sculpt the future of voting and elections administration, as well as the tremendous progress civic tech companies and organizations have using modern technologies and citizen-centric solutions.
Later in the week, we also had the privilege of attending the EAC’s Election Data Summit. It was an honor to hear from such a transformative group of skilled election officials, academics, and other interested groups who leverage modern approaches to constantly improve election administration and voter experiences with data. The Summit featured 42 individuals representing 21 different states discussing their tremendous progress in addressing election administration challenges through data and technology. Punctuating the need for more proactive efforts to encourage accuracy and accountability, a recurring theme was the encouragement of sharing, training, and communicating to improve election performance.
Many panelists stressed the importance of sharing through benchmarking as well as collaboration between IT and policy people to validate best practices in the creation, collection, and transparency of data. Participants also posed the question of identifying key stakeholders, as well as their interests and role of those stakeholders in voting and elections. While data can undoubtedly be used to advance technology by telling us what is efficient and secure, it also encompass an unparalleled capacity to tell stories, to animate and to illuminate as well as to inform policy decisions to identify It is in this way that we can better identify and meet the needs of those stakeholders, including federal, state, and local government, interested organizations, and voters themselves.
The relationship between data and current, relevant, deployable, usable technology particularly resonated with us. Both events punctuated how election administrators, researchers, organizations, and civic tech innovators are leading the world through the integration and advancement of technology as a mechanism to provide more secure, transparent, comprehensive, and citizen-centric elections. We were struck by the abundance of groundbreaking ideas and excited to have encountered so many like-minded innovators working to engage, educate, and empower voters.
Our key take-away? Light the fire, keep it burning.
We not only need to start a dialogue on these important issues, we need to continue it. At Initiativv, we want to extend our thanks to everyone who made these events possible.