The Democracy Fund congratulates the Knight News Challenge winners announced yesterday at the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life at the University of Texas at Austin.
The wide range of solutions the winners will deploy seek to inform voters about the candidates and issues at both the local and national levels, as well as to help reduce barriers to getting people to the polls. Their projects cover efforts ranging from increasing transparency in campaign financing to increasing voter participation by providing informational tools on election processes, candidates, and issues. The Democracy Fund was especially excited about the number of the applicants and winners from the state and local election official communities. From the Rhode Island Secretary of State Natalie Gorbea to Cook County Clerk David Orr, this pool of winners really highlights the ability of elections offices to embrace innovation.
When the Democracy Fund joined in launching this challenge on better informing voters and increasing civic participation with the Knight Foundation, Hewlett Foundation, and Rita Allen Foundation, we had great hopes for the creativity it might reveal and are looking forward to seeing the work of the winning projects:
- 2016 Political Ad Tracker by Internet Archive
- California Civic Data Coalition by California Civic Data Coalition, a partnership between The Los Angeles Times, The Center for Investigative Reporting and Stanford University
- Campaign Hound by Reese News Lab, University of North Carolina
- Inside the 990 Treasure Trove by The Center for Responsive Politics in partnership with GuideStar
- Civic Engagement Toolkit for Local Election Officials by Center for Technology and Civic Life
- Informed Voting From Start to Finish by E.thePeople
- Revive My Vote by Marshall-Wythe Law Foundation
- Sharp Insight by Youth Outreach Adolescent Community Awareness Program
- The Next Generation Beyond Exit Polls by the Associated Press
- Vote-by-Smartphone by Long Distance Voter
- Judge Your Judges by WNYC
- Lenses by NYC Media Lab
- OpenJudiciary.org by Free Law Project
- Prompt Data Query by Center for Responsive Politics
- Silent Targeting, Loud Democracy by University of Wisconsin (Madison, Wis.)
- Tabs on Tallahassee by the Orlando Sentinel
- Up for Debate Ohio! by the Jefferson Center
- Voter’s Edge by MapLight
- Accessible Voting for Everyone by University of Florida
- Erase the Line by D.C. Board of Elections
- Rhode Island Civic Fellowship by Rhode Island Secretary of State
- The Iowa Electorate by The Des Moines Register
The Democracy Fund contributed $250,000 to the total $3.2 million awarded yesterday, and we believe it is money well-invested. Ten of the winners will receive investments of $200,000 to $525,000 each, while 12 early-stage ideas will receive $35,000 each through the Knight Prototype Fund, which helps people explore early-stage media and information ideas.
The Democracy Fund is encouraged and hopeful as we prepare for the next chapter of the News Challenge: the launch of these creative ideas. To those who didn’t win, we want to recognize the courage it takes to put an idea on public display, and we encourage those who were not selected to keep pursuing feedback and partnerships in your efforts.
Good luck to all!