Why we care about elections

Knight News Challenge on Elections video series.  RELATED LINKS  

Taking civic participation from the voting booth to the streets” by Seamus Kraft on Knight blog, 03/09/15

Knight News Challenge: Elections Mixtape” by Knight Foundation

Towards empathetic disruption: Civic tech and doing what works” by John Bracken and Lucas Hernandez on Knight blog, 03/04/15

Democracy Works launches new voter tool, expands programs” by Seth Flaxman on Knight blog, 03/04/15

Balancing technology risks and benefits in elections” by Jeremy Epstein on Knight blog, 03/02/15

To improve civic participation we need transparency” by Chris Gates on Knight blog, 02/26/15

“Civic engagement essential to strengthening democracy” by Kelly Born on Knight blog, 02/25/15

Knight News Challenge on Elections opens for ideas” by Chris Barr and Shazna Nessa on Knight blog, 02/25/15

Knight News Challenge to focus on Elections” on Knight blog, 02/12/15

Rick Perlstein noted elections are a means for understanding Americans’ “fears and dreams.” Herbert Gans has called elections “proxies for democracy,” as Election Day is that rare event in which “citizens play a major [role] in government.” At Knight, we care about how people access and use the information they need for living their lives in a democracy. In particular we’re interested in how new digital tools, and related behaviors, might be changing the ways in which Americans relate to their civic institutions; that’s what has driven our interest in open government, libraries — and elections. I’m hoping that we all will learn about needs and opportunities to expand access to and use of information, as well as for rethinking the ways citizens in a democracy express their hopes.

I’ve already begun to get questions about what fits within the challenge. If you’re thinking about ideas for better informing voters or improving what it means to be a voter–before, during or after an election–we want to hear your idea, before March 19.

And if you don’t have an idea, we hope that you’ll respond to the ideas that will be appearing on Knight Blog and on over the next month. You can also reach us with questions @knightfdn on Twitter, or via e-mail at [email protected]. You can sign up for News Challenge alerts here.

John Bracken is vice president for media innovation at Knight Foundation.

Knight Foundation is partnering with the Democracy Fund, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Rita Allen Foundation on Knight News Challenge: Elections, which asks the question, How might we better inform voters and increase civic participation before, during and after elections? The best ideas will share in more than $3 million. Apply at by 5 p.m. ET March 19. Winners will be announced in June. 

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