Author Archives: waltgrace747

Code for America Helps Build Community in a Variety of Ways

Code for America is a non-profit, non-partisan organization seeking to embolden communities and city governments to solve issues that arise in governance and community building using technological solutions. By enlisting the help of technology professionals, Code for America applies its resources to a city or community’s unique situation to help the entity help itself by developing apps and databases that serve a specific purpose. I learned about Code for America through the product of one of its programs in a popular city in my home state of Alabama: Code for Birmingham. Code for Birmingham is a part of Code for America’s “Brigade” program which organizes groups of local volunteers to support and maintain technology already in place or to design technology that is needed to improve the day to day operations of the city of Birmingham.

I see initiatives like Code for America as being highly effective in engaging and uplifting communities. In one way, the organization is bringing community members in to provide a very beneficial service to the city. This makes community members partners in the business of governance and community maintenance. In another way Code for America is providing a much-needed resource to the development of not only government effectiveness through technology, but also people’s careers. While a certain level of technological competence is needed to be effective within the organization’s grassroots efforts, Code for America’s operations allow for novices to at the very least see the inner workings of technology, and even so within their own communities. This is the perfect way to cultivate a future workforce for the already massive, yet rapidly growing technology field.

To learn more about Code for America and its four other programs visit their website: https://www.codeforamerica.org/.

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Prime III Voting System

The developers of Prime III bill the technology as “the single most accessible electronic voting system.” Created in 2005 at Clemson University Human Centered Computing Lab, Prime III is a multimodal voting system that allows multiple users to simultaneously cast their vote using touch, voice, or both. The technology came about with efforts to improve upon the two main methods of voting from simpler times: paper with levers and punch cards, and computers and scanners. This is where Prime III gets its name: it is the third generation of America’s voting system. In addition to necessary security features, the system includes a “universal design,” which is to say efforts have been made to make the technology usable for “as many people as possible regardless of age, ability or situation.” Complementary systems have been developed or are currently being developed to both enable telecast voting for deployed military personnel and prevent voter fraud using video verification. To learn more about Prime III visit their website: http://www.primevotingsystem.com/.