This press release was crafted and distributed by our partners at OCI Group in San Antonio
ThinkVoting and OCI Group Launch
The Voting App™ a Non-Partisan Get Out The Vote (GOTV) Mobile Application
SAN ANTONIO, TX – Our Community Inc., LLC (OCI Group) has joined with ThinkVoting to launch The Voting App™, the first San Antonio Get Out The Vote (GOTV) mobile application for the 2015 Municipal Elections. The non-partisan mobile app is endorsed and supported by the San Antonio Area League of Women Voters and the Common Ground for Texans Board of Directors. ThinkVoting and OCI Group formed a partnership premised upon both entities’ commitment to developing civic engagement and leadership within our community.
For Americans, nothing needs transformation more urgently than our political system. The foundation of any democracy is the electoral process, and by utilizing powerful technologies like mobile data, ThinkVoting is leading the way in building an innovative platform that will create the first digital ecosystem for representative democracy. The Voting App consolidates scattered and fragmented information into a single place, and gives every voter the “who, what, when, where, why and how” for any election, making participation easier and more effective than ever before. Increasing access to information and awareness around our city’s leadership will increase voter turnout and engagement in electing these leaders.
The ThinkVoting Analytic Platform also enables potential voters, candidates, organizations and elected officials from all levels of government to easily connect and share information with each other from a central location. Voters receive the benefit of having a credible source to access all of the information they need to make an informed voting decision and get to the polls, while candidates have a free platform to present their campaign messaging, connect with voters, and potentially gather polling data throughout and after each election.
“The decision to forge a partnership with ThinkVoting was an absolute must,” Analco González, Managing Partner and Co-Founder of OCI Group says, “as both entities are premised on effecting positive change in the world. We believe in The Voting App and how it is altering the way civic engagement and civic responsibility are approached in our community in an innovative and positive manner; much like we believe that any business or organization can positively impact their communities. We must engage more people in the voting process and do so through the creation of new and inventive mechanisms like The Voting App.”
“In the last 25 years, voter turnout in cities across the US has declined by more than 20%. This trend worsens when you look at the biggest, fastest growing cities like San Antonio, which has one of the lowest voter turnout rates in the country. However, harnessing the power of mobile data in a responsible, non-partisan way can be the agent for change that is needed,” says Joseph Santori, President & Co-Founder OR Jeff Cardenas, Co-Founder (WHO DO YOU WANT?) “Through our relationship with OCI Group, we will make San Antonio the model for the rest of the United States by increasing voter turnout and knowledgeable voters. This launch is in anticipation of the 2016 Presidential Elections and San Antonio will be at the forefront of moving the needle for communities all over the United States. We are excited to see how our relationship will impact lives throughout our community moving forward.”
OCI Group is a private company with a social purpose mission. We want to alter the trajectory of communities by utilizing a very unique business model that is truly changing the world every day. The power of a community who is aware and engaged in the political process is incredible and tools like The Voting App help to insure that our community is prepared to uphold their responsibility as citizens. Simply put, The Voting App is the ultimate toolkit for the modern voter. It has been designed from the ground up to be scalable and dynamic in order to accommodate any election, and has the potential to completely revolutionize the way we all participate in a modern democracy. Perhaps most importantly, it invites citizens who have been overwhelmed by the vast amounts of information regarding issues and candidates, and organizes details so that a seasoned, as well as novice voter, can easily navigate issues based on what is important to them and their community.
About OCI Group
OCI Group is a for-profit social purpose consulting firm focused on economic and leadership development. They work with companies, organizations, educational institutions, and individuals to support building genuine “social purpose businesses (SPBs),” through which they demonstrate that being concerned with the “greater good” in the community will help them achieve their goals and improve their bottom line. They engage local leaders, business owners and develop resources – social, political and financial – to create a contingent of people that will support the client’s endeavors.
www.oci-group.com and follow at www.facebook.com/ocigroup Twitter @OCIGroup
ThinkVoting has a new vision for 21st Century democracy. Utilizing the latest technologies, they are building a mobile platform that will completely transform the way we all participate in a modern democracy. They aim to create tools that will empower voters and candidates alike, and make it easier for everyone to participate in the democratic process and become more civically engaged.
http://bit.ly/sa-tva-oci and follow at www.facebook.com/ThinkVoting Twitter @ThinkVoting
The Austin Chronicle ran this lovely story on ThinkVoting and The Voting App this week. There were two other smaller ThinkVoting mentions in the same issue of the Chronicle.
Austin’s ThinkVoting has an app for that
By Greg Harman, 12:01PM, Thu. Oct. 23
Thanks in part to aggressive voter registration efforts this year, a record number of Texans – 14,025,441 – are registered to vote in the current gubernatorial election, according to the Texas Secretary of State‘s office. And the view from day three of early voting suggests it will indeed be a big turnout. For a nonpresidential election. In Texas.
Texas is, after all, one of the most pathetically apathetic states in the union when it comes to voting.
Roughly half of all registered voters turned out in the 2012 presidential elections. That number takes a dive during statewide elections. Of 19 million adults in Texas this year, only 13.6 were registered to vote at the time of the March primary. Fewer than 2 million did so.
A new smartphone app hopes to change that.
“I had this grandiose plan for a tool by the people for the people,” said local musician and gaming designer Joseph Santori, founder of the voter-empowerment effort at ThinkVoting.
By his own account, Santori hasn’t exactly been a portrait of civic duties fulfilled. Rather, he considers his former self “an average citizen.” He doesn’t mean that in a nice way either.
“My voting record was relatively spotty. I’m not a politico. I voted when the news made me feel like I wanted to vote or was guilted into it,” he said.
His conversion began after being hired in 2012 by the Texas Secretary of State’s office to develop a statewide voting app that became VoteTexas. Little he wanted to include found its way into the final product due to tangled debates over potential bias. Linking to candidate websites was resisted by state employees because, he said, it was feared it would seem the SOS was favoring candidates with websites. “There were disputes over where to put a comma in some of the copy that went in. It was like working with both hands tied behind my back and my tongue tied,” he said.
With the launch of the Voting App (an iPhone version went up Tuesday; the Google store version is pending), Santori’s broader vision is finding expression.
By typing in their location, users can easily view their ballots, examine candidate positions and ballot initiatives, and locate their polling location. This week’s launch covers the range of races affecting the Austin area but won’t spread to other metros until next year. Plans are to go national in time for the presidential elections in 2016.
Currently, the Voting App draws much of its information from League of Women Voters research, but the team expects to aggregate from as many sources as possible as they ramp up to a nationwide presence.
After beginning that SOS gig, Santori started paying a lot more attention to politics. All that he learned about low voter turnout colored his take on the sea of commenters on those Yahoo News stories he was reading.
“Anything that I saw that had to do with politics had this rampant trolling,” he said. “At the same time I knew what the voting turnout rate was. I’m pretty sure a large majority of them didn’t participate in the election process at all. I mean, we have an average of 10 percent for our municipal elections. … People have died for this.”
While it doesn’t begin to address their historic debt, perhaps, Travis County is seeing a rise in voter participation along with other major state metros. In the first three days of early voting, counting in-person and mail-in votes, 37,007 county voters have turned out already. That’s a slight climb over 2010.
“People are consuming [a lot of] information now, they want it on demand, and they want the me-now right-now so they can make a decision five minutes before they walk into the polls,” Santori said. “I want to be able to give as much of that as I possibly can to ensure they really don’t have any blockages to getting to the polling places anymore.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
The Voting App – Austin Edition is now available:
ThinkVoting is excited to announce the official launch of “The Voting App – Austin Edition” for iPhone, with the Android version soon to follow. This first version of The Voting App will exclusively serve the Austin area during the upcoming election. With the historic nature of Austin’s upcoming election (78 candidates running just for City Council and Mayor) and the likelihood that many voters will be voting for their own City Council member for the first time, there is a desperate need for The Voting App.
About The Voting App:
The Voting App harnesses the power of mobile to make participating in the electoral process easier than ever before. It consolidates the critical information needed to evaluate the Who, What, When, Where, How, and Why for any federal, state or local election in which you are eligible to vote. It allows voters to compare candidates on a number of different criteria, evaluate pros and cons of proposed legislation and ballot items, and will even guide them to nearest poll location.
ThinkVoting is a civic-minded software development company with a new vision for 21st Century Democracy. “We aren’t politicos. We are technologists that recognize the potential for technology to play a greater role in our civic process. We want to make it easier for average people to get involved and informed.” – Founders of ThinkVoting
ThinkVoting has been built from the ground up here in Austin, and believe this upcoming election offers the potential to showcase the power of mobile technologies in the future of our democracy. They are non-partisan, and are forging partnerships across the political spectrum to create tools for citizens everywhere.
Partnership w/ League of Women Voter’s:
ThinkVoting worked closely with The League of Women Voters Austin Area to develop The Voting App, and have officially partnered with them to deliver their Voter’s Guide information through the app. ThinkVoting’s founders and the LWVAA believe that mobile technology is the key to bringing more and better informed voters to the polls (see press release from LWVAA here).
For more information about ThinkVoting and The Voting App, please visit thinkvoting.com, or email the founders at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an interview. The iPhone version of The Voting App is available in the iTunes App Store at http://bit.ly/tvaios. The Android version will be available in the Google Play Store on Friday, October 25.
ThinkVoting needs folks at the Copper Tank in downtown Austin, TX on Wednesday at 2:00 to vote for our project in the Austin Plus Social Good Social Innovators Fast Pitch competition. We are one of five finalists competing with the audience choosing the winner. Mark Strama is MCing and the event kicks off Austin Start Up Week. Register here.
ThinkVoting is a social entrepreneurship that is focused on building the most powerful tools for participating in the political process of all time. They have recently been selected as one of five finalist in the Austin Plus Social Good Social Innovators Fast Pitch Competition.
“We are proud and excited to be amongst such amazing ideas in the A+SG competition. This is a huge learning experience for us as entrepreneurs with a social mission and we hope this event is well attended.”
Founder & Chief Innovator at ThinkVoting
ThinkVoting is an innovative startup that has been built from the ground up here in Austin. This upcoming election offers the opportunity to really showcase the power of mobile technologies in the new age of democracy. Their first tool is simply called “The Voting App”, and it will be available on all Android and iOS enabled devices in early October, just in time for the upcoming election. It features the League of Women Voters of Austin’s Voters Guide providing detailed information about candidates and proposed legislation, and it reminds voters on election days while navigating them to the polls.
Austin+Social Good is the Austin chapter of the national initiative founded by Mashable. The Social Good Summit unites a dynamic group of community and global leaders to discuss a big topic — the power of innovative thinking and technology to solve our world’s greatest challenges.
The Social Innovator’s Fast Pitch is scheduled to be at The Copper Tank on San Jacinto from 2pm – 6pm at on October 8th. The contestants are judged by the audience and the winner receives crowdfunded money to advance their project and an opportunity to pitch during SXSW. More information on this event can be found at http://austinplussocialgood.org/events/atxsocialgood/