ElectionHackathon: Design a platform for your own democratic voting system

Who Are The Minority Programmers Association (MPA)?

https://minorityprogrammers.org/

We are an international network of diverse professionals, educators, students, and hobbyists that unify together to combat humanitarian problems through software solutions with a project based approach to learning. 

Why Are We Sponsoring the #ElectionHackathon?

Now more than ever people around the world are dissatisfied with the antiquated election systems, As programmers we feel like we needed to provide a platform to motivate other programmers to channel their isolation into a collaborative effort to design democratic systems that represent all voices in this modern age.

Benefits of  #ElectionHackathon
  • Channels Isolation into Innovation
  • Bring Coders Together From All Backgrounds
  • Opens Avenues to Discuss Flaws in Democratic Systems
  • Long Enough to Develop Impactful Solution
  • Promoting Interdisciplinary Learning: Bringing Tech into Social Space
  • Allows Public to Motivate Coders to Develop Existing Ideas
  • Networking Opportunity
  • STEM Education
  • Technical Support for Aspiring Programmers
  • A Way to Collaborate During Pandemic
  • A Constructive Way to Get Technically Involved in Election Process
  • Opportunity for Students to Win Money
  • Building Resume with Relevant Projects
  • Recruitment Opportunity for Employers

Premise

In a race to tackle flaws in modern democratic systems, we decided,  in these tough economic times, to inspire people to use STEM to join the fight along with a $1000+ prize.

Challenge

You have 17 days (Friday October 16, 11:00AM EST - Sunday November 1, 11:59PM EST) for your team (1-5 people) to develop a platform for your own democratic system for the citizens of the world to vote on issues and/or candidates. This is not meant to be a digitization of current voting systems, but rather your own redesign on global electoral systems through the facilitation of modern technology.

Your Task

Develop a software solution (as a shippable product) that has its own democratic system for voting on issues and/or candidates.

When

Start Date: Friday, October 16, 2020

End Date:  Sunday, November 1, 2020

Winner Announced: on YouTube: Sunday, November 8th EST

Competition Guidelines

Team Guidelines

The more people consider for a team, the more the prize split. Your team can be up to 1-5 people. All members must register for the competition, and also specify their team name with fellow team members’ github usernames. If you do not have team mates, you can find other members on our Discord server.

Rubric

 

 

Technical Complexity

Practicality

Presentation of Product

 

Quality of Features

Are your features meaningful and add to the overall quality of the product?

Accessibility

Will your solution work in places most impacted by systemic injustices? Mobile?

UX Design

Does your UX Design consider a wide variety of applications.

 

Comprehensive Project

Does your solution have comprehensive features or does it look like you just put something together?

Do you tackle multiple problems at once concerning democratic voting systems?

Effectiveness

Does it actually solve a problem concerning voting systems?

Code Cleanliness

Is your code easy to understand?

 

Efficiency

Is your code efficient? Do you use an efficient algorithm?

Portability and Usability

Is your code easy to run and works on multiple systems?

Originality of Work

Is your idea novel?

Do you not plagiarize and properly credit others for their contribution?

 

Summary Of Problem

Background on Democracy

In theory,  democracy means a system in which decision making is made in which all members of this institution have an equal share of power. This definition brings the following questions that have existed since antiquity; How do you become a member of this institution, who makes the decision to make these decisions, how do you quantify power and how do you divide power equally? While democracy can be traced to the prehistoric hunter gatherers where close knit communities could easily dictate daily activities based on majority rule, mass globalization has truly tested the scalability of democracy exacerbating problems seen in these ancient microcosms. 

History of Democratic Systems

What we traditionally accredit as the first democratic system in a complex society is the Greeks, where the name, “demos” (citizen) ‘kratos” (power of rule) , originated Under this construct, Athens is seen as democracy’s birthplace. While early systems may be described as aristocratic or oligarchic, the Greeks eventually introduced concepts like isonomia, and their rule, broadening ruling rights to more male citizens that do not have wealth. However, this in itself can be viewed as not a democracy as it favors a certain group of people.

 

Today, representative democracy is considered to be a characteristic of developed nations, in contrast to authoritarianism and oligarchy. Forms of representative democracy putting power in the hand of the minority throughout history. gave birth to the idea of universal suffrage (right to vote for all adult citizens).

 

Universal Suffrage
  • 19th century British movement for universal suffrage (commonly understood as manhood suffrage)
  • US Women's Suffrage Movement
  • Warren Court Era of 1960s: One Man, One Vote, which led to the Voting Rights Act 
    • Civil Rights Act of 1964 + Voting Rights Act of 1965
    • Rollback of Voting Rights Act in 2013
  • Native American Suffrage (passed in 1924 but not fully implemented in all states until 1962)

 

Modern Problems in Democratic Systems

Approaching this modern age has been easily manipulated through the use of technology, which has further led to interference with the sovereignty of governments across the world. Over history, the voting system has always been interfered with, but with this modern age it has become more apparent. Voter disenfranchisement presentation can be seen vividly in the fight of minorities for secure voting rights. 

Issues to Consider

Although we cannot begin to quantify the ways one can develop more democratic systems, we have devised these categories to help guide you design your own from scratch.

Electoral System
    • Plurality: First Past-The-Post voting
    • Majority: two-round, instant-runoff, plurality-at large, general ticket
    • Semi-Proportional: Single non-transferable vote, cumulative voting, binomial
    • Proportional: Part-list, single transferable voting
    • Mixed: Majority bonus, mixed member proportional, parallel
    • Other: Borda count, Approval voting, Condorcet Method
Direct vs Representative
  • Which issues can be directly voted on? Which do we need a government role?
  • How do we pick a representative? Where? How? How often? 
  • Ways to combine both the systems?
Registration
  • Easily Accessible Identity Authentication System
  • Eliminating Fraud
  • Frequency of Registration / Updating Information
Time
  • Vote On A Date, in Advance, or in Advance with Submission on Date
  • Remote/Location Voting (Authentication/Accessibility Considerations)
  • Pre-Voting Platform, final submission countdown
Disenfranchisement (Who Gets To Vote?)
  • Age limits?
  • Criminal Convictions?
  • Citizens, Taxpayers, Governed? 
Accessibility
  • Barriers to Entry: Access to Internet, IDs, Transportation
  • Infrastructural: Gerrymandering, Misinformation, Voter Suppression
  • Impairments: UX+UI Considerations, Hearing/Visual
Transparency
  • Public Vote Validation (w/ Anonymity)
  • Data Visualization: Of Vote Distribution, history of Trends, Top Issues, Regional
Education
  • Teach How to Vote + Use System
  • Information on Elections
  • Prevent the Use of Biased Information
Cybersecurity
  • Potential for Platform to get Compromised
  • Privacy on Who You Voted For While Maintaining System Integrity
  • Data Storage

Ideas and Resources

Examples of Potential Solutions

Application that

  • Allows voters to see candidates based on issues that are most important to them
  • Allows authentication to SMS in order to vote
  • Notification system for election
  • Uses geo mapping and livetime selection to do representative democracy
  • A petitions system that quickly streamlines referendum initiatives
  • Voting based on profiles
    • Instead of voting at a day, every voting person prioritizes their biggest issues and issues are addressed based on what is “trending”
  • A platform that choose candidates based on debate performance
  • A CMS system that allows people to apply to positions like president like a job (choosing most qualified person)
  • Candidate registration system
    • Petitioning to get on Ballot
    • Background check system
    • Previous candidate history (prior elections
  • Blockchain backed voting system
  • Voting based on audience cheers
  • Voting on budget based on percentage of pie interface and optimizing
Existing Solutions/Tools
Voting Tools Voter Registration
Resources for Research

View full rules

Prizes

$1,750 in prizes

Grand Prize

Awarded to the best project selected by judges.

Second Place Overall Winner

Awarded to the best project selected by judges.

Third Place Overall Winner

Third place as awarded by the judges

Devpost Achievements

Submitting to this hackathon could earn you:

Eligibility

  • Teams of 1-5 (minimum age of 13)
  • Anyone from around the world can enter

Requirements

Submission Requirements

All files must be submitted as a link by Sunday November 1st, 11:59 PM EST

  1. Link to Demo video (hosted on YouTube or Vimeo). Your video should be around 5 minutes long and include a demo of your working application. 
  2. Repository access to your working application for judging and testing. Include a link to your repo hosting the code and all deployment files and testing instructions needed for testing your project in a README.md file. (Repositories may be public or private — if your repository is private, share access with testing@devpost.com AND minorityprogrammers@gmail.com.
  3. Submission form on Devpost before the deadline, Aug 2nd at 11:59PM EDT.

Judges

Yerlan Akzhanov

Yerlan Akzhanov
Enterprise Solution Architect

Pavel Mineev

Pavel Mineev
Frontend Team-lead at June Homes

Isaac Smith

Isaac Smith
Software Developer & JMU Alumn

Xavier Pladevall

Xavier Pladevall
Co-Founder of Index

Eduardo Portet

Eduardo Portet
Co-Founder of Index

Judging Criteria

  • Technical Complexity:Quality of Features
    Are your features meaningful and add to the overall quality of the product?
  • Technical Complexity: Comprehensive Project
    Does your solution have comprehensive features or does it look like you just put something together? Do you tackle multiple problems at once concerning democratic voting systems?
  • Technical Complexity: Efficiency
    Is your code efficient? Do you use an efficient algorithm?
  • Practicality: Accessibility
    Will your solution work in places most impacted by systemic injustices? Mobile?
  • Practicality: Effectiveness
    Does it actually solve a problem concerning the marginalized populations?
  • Practicality: Portability and Usability
    Is your code easy to run and works on multiple systems?
  • Presentation of Product
    UX Design -Does your UX Design consider a wide variety of applications. Code Cleanliness -Is your code easy to understand? Originality of Work -Is your idea novel? -Do you not plagiarize and properly credit others for their contribution?

theme

  • Social Good