New Election Monitoring Platform Created by Harvard Kennedy School, LegiNation, and Citizen Groups
Cambridge, Mass. – Today the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University unveiled MyFairElection.com, a new crowd sourced election monitoring platform that allows voters across the United States to rate the quality of their voting experience during Election Day on November 6, 2012. Created by Archon Fung, Ford Foundation Professor of Democracy and Citizenship at Harvard Kennedy School’s Ash Center along with other concerned citizens, MyFairElection empowers voters to take a more active role in monitoring their polling places and in improving the quality of elections and ballot access in the United States.
“We hope that the results MyFairElection collects will democratize the assessment of our nation’s electoral institutions in their role administering the most fundamental right of modern democracies,” said Fung. “By being open to participation by all voters – be their poll experience positive or negative – the participation level and resulting data set could far exceed more tightly controlled efforts that rely on physically present poll monitors or voting problem hotlines.”
On November 6, 2012, voters across the United States will be able to access MyFairElection via smart phone, laptop, or desktop computer to describe and rate the quality of their voting experience: five stars for a fulfilling experience at the ballot box or one star for very long lines, broken machines, or intimidation. Voters will also be able to record wait times, comment about their experience, report problems, and upload photos. In addition, MyFairElection will also supply voters with the location of their polling place, voter identification requirements, and other election-day information such as current average wait times.
Both real-time during Election Day and afterwards, MyFairElection will aggregate voter-provided data into heat maps and other data-rich displays to identify and display the quality of electoral access across the country. The site will allow voters to identify and locate problems as they emerge in real time, compare and rank states and localities according to the quality of access to the vote they provide, and share the experience of exercising their right and ability to vote.
By giving completely open access to an anonymized data set after the election, the platform will provide free election monitoring data to government agencies, journalists, voter protection groups, and citizens to drive further improvements to the electoral process.
MyFairElection is part of the Ash Center’s broader research focus on the character, causes, and consequences of participatory governance practices throughout the world. Through its wiki-based Participedia website, the Center is generating a library of examples and methods of participatory governance, public deliberation, and collaborative public action. The Center also spearheads research through its Transparency Policy Project, which assesses the sustainability and effectiveness of government-mandated systems designed to provide the public with critical information to improve public health and safety, reduce risks to investors, minimize corruption, and improve public services.
MyFairElection was designed with support from LegiNation, Inc. and a group of dedicated citizens including Ash Center Democracy Fellow Hollie Russon-Gilman, Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Government at Harvard University. For more information, please contact MyFairElection at Info@MyFairElection.com.
MyFairElection.com is a crowd sourced election monitoring platform created by faculty at Harvard Kennedy School with support from LegiNation, Inc. and a group of dedicated citizens. It enables voters to take an active role in monitoring their polling places and in improving the quality of elections and ballot access in the United States. To learn more and register for MyFairElection, visit http://www.myfairelection.com.
About the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation
The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation advances excellence in governance and strengthens democratic institutions worldwide. Through its research, education, international programs, and government innovations awards, the Center fosters creative and effective government problem solving and serves as a catalyst for addressing many of the most pressing needs of the world’s citizens. For more information, visit www.ash.harvard.edu.