Civic Engagement


The Situation

Low political engagement in the United States is one of the major challenges faced by our democracy today. Beyond elections, how can we extend political engagement and keep elected officials accountable? How can we help people understand laws that could affect their lives? And how can we enable communication in a meaningful, simple, and impactful way?

Who We Are is a non-partisan, online platform answering the question, “The election is over, now what?”, with a mission to give everyone a voice in our democracy by making civic engagement accessible, efficient, and impactful. Individuals use IssueVoter to get alerts about new bills related to issues they care about, send opinions to their Representative before Congress votes, and track how often s/he represents them.

The Project

Collaborating with major news publishers such as Forbes and AP News, build an embeddable widget that allows people to conveniently communicate their stance on major political topics to their local representatives. The widget will be embedded on the publisher’s sites and should display questions related to articles currently being read. The questions will come from a set of predefined questions from IssueVoter.

Level 1: Embeddable Platform for Political Engagement

Your first task will be to create a widget (similar to embeddable Tweets) that allows writers/publishers to add questions related to articles to their website. These question responses will be stored in IssueVoter's database, and you will also potentially forward responses to local government officials.

Level 2: Payment Interface for Publishers

Design an interface that allows publisher partners to pay for access to collected response data from the widget.

Level 3: Machine Learning to Interpret Article Content

Design a way to interpret the contents of articles and automatically generate a widget with an associated question to the article. For example, when the widget is embedded in an article on environment regulation in the US, display the question on whether or not EPA funding should be cut.

Recommended Skills (not required):

  • Web development (HTML, CSS, Javascript)
  • Databases (SQL)
  • Python/Django experience
  • Machine Learning/NLP