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League of Technial Voters

Page history last edited by PBworks 18 years, 1 month ago

League of Technical Voters

The League of Technical Voters is a new non-profit organization that will motivate and assist techies in influencing the political sphere. Policymaker buy in is essential to the success of this project. Come hear opinions and advice from across the political spectrum on how to most effectively work with and influence government policy and process.

Moderator: Silona Bonewald Owner, League of Technical Voters –

David S Isenberg isen.com, LLC

Silona Bonewald Owner, League of Technical Voters (democrat) - founder

Donna Kidwell Owner, Kalitechna Consulting (republican) - cofounder

Mark Strama State Rep, Representative, District 50, Texas House of Representatives

Christie Goodman – rep. Goodman’s office, district 93 (need influence over legislative staffers – first point of contact to influence policy)


Motivating technical experts to effectively influence the political process.


From website: Welcome to the League of Technical Voters

Changing the World Through Better Process and Transparent Communications

Our Goal

Our primary goal is to involve more technical people in the political process, especially in relation to the use of technology by government. We are in a position to provide a priceless resource to our country by helping to improve governmental policies and use of technical resources. We believe that many of the current problems have more to do with a lack of education than with partisan issues.

Who We Are

We are technical experts of all flavors. We do everything from engineering, to designing websites, to implementing large data systems. We are individuals not tied to a specific corporate interest or lobby. Instead we are dedicated to the idea that we can help educate those who need to use technology and spend our tax dollars to do so. Lastly, we are Voters who want to regain influence over a system we view as chaotic, unwieldy and unresponsive.

Accomplishing Our Goal

Through your support we will create a web-based social networking system with integrated voting and blog features that will allow us to watch and discuss legislation both on a state and national level. The voting mechanism will provide aggregate position data which can be used to influence policy makers. The blogs will be used to communicate issues as well as inspire members to become further involved.

The system will also be a well-filtered source of information for the media, government administrators, policymakers and their staff. The League of Technical Voters will provide them with access to a wide range of nonpartisan technical expertise.


Basic goals of LTV

- transparency in governmental process and decision making

- unbiased and nonpartisan public discussions of technical issues

- effective and timely response to rapid changes in tech

- decisions based on expert factual, scientific, and tech info rather than special interest or partisan agendas


The future

- more knowledgeable and accountable legislators and administrators

- new level of openness to govt process (lawmaking, bidding)

- strong influential community of technical activists

- solid source of tech advice and


Target audiences

- tech experts

- tech managers

- govt administrators and stff

- media

- visionaries in technology (bruce sterling)

- collaborative technical organizations


Does this exist?

- why hasn’t it happened previously?

- My guess:

o Personality types

o Education

o Time

- pain exists now – too many industries being hurt by uniformed decision making


Solution: software – creating tool to bring technologists together and give them a voice in policy. Next 3 weeks is research phase. Came to SXSW to put the project together.


Interactive website

- integration of social network, communities, blogging and activism tools

- verified user identities and reputation system ensure verifiable resources

- open source platform allows for community driven expansion – tool that is extensible, useable for others, community is part of building it

- community building: lessons from MMOs

- varied backgrounds and disciplines – researchers, scientists, bloggers (not all can work out in the open i.e. stem cell researchers)

- invitation only – reputation aspects

- transparency of user base

- iterative development

- customized interfaces

o market segments

o usage




Preliminary Survey Results of internet usage in Texas legislature

- internet usage high, email, blogs

- sources of info are varied

- Don’t have time during session to be involved with technology

- features that stood out

o tagonomy of bill evolution – able to keep up with changes in the bills, language, ID numbers, etc. have a central place that keeps updated

o polling of tech experts – aggregate data – blogs where ppl can vote, tell the legislators what the constituents in the network think about certain bills

o ability to contact constituents in social network


Strama – hard to get attention of legislator for one person. Easy to ignore when it doesn’t represent constituency. Harder to ignore when there is a group behind it. Also interesting to note that when this thing has been successful before, it has been really targeted on one issue. I think you’re going to have to work around the policy of not pushing specific agenda. Just being a resource to them on tech issues may not provide the value you think you’ll have.


Bonewald – this is the point of the voting. We will email them the results. The org never takes a stand – it’s the actual constituents.


Goodman – barrage of emails and calls is not effective. Staffer who has the ability to raise those issues doesn’t answer those calls. They do hear 25 ppl have called against this but staffer doesn’t know why. To present this info to their representative, they want more information. A place where you could get details would be more valuable. Also note that during the session, the staffers will not have time to check the tool regularly. Send me a summary with notes and how to make it better.


Strama – when in the crush of the lawmaking process, it is very hard to break thru the clutter. A website that policy makers have to go to will not work. You need to send THEM the information. They will not have time to go seek it out. .


Q from audience: to what extent is LTV trying to use tech to improve political processes and to what extent is the org pushing for particular outcomes on issue like stem cell research or telecom law? What sort of governance structures do you plan on having to figure out which bills to support?


Kidwell: until you have transparency, we don’t know where the voice of technologists is needed. Transparency is first. First we need tools for us to really see what’s going on. What do the bills really say? Plan is to treat the policy-making process just like the same cycle that software development does – requirements definition.


Goodman – right now, they get suggestions too late. Bills are already filed. Also not getting notes about how to improve bills, etc. from the technology experts.


Bonewald – make relationships with orgs who read everything that comes out. Important to have ppl in the committee hearings. Need to know when they’re coming up and be able to get ppl in there.


Isenberg: My issue is that the telecom bill in congress right not is really going to screw every person in this room in many diff ways. Recent brandex decision cable companies have no obligation to be fair, then same thing came down the pike for DSL. So I gathered a bunch of ppl and we read the bill and we talked about it. Does this bill really say that every VOIP provider is going to have to be liscensed with the FCC? Yes. Does this say that coffee shop owners providing internet access need to liscense w the FCC? Yes. So where is the soft spot in the system where we can express our concerns? Researched for policy maker with some understanding/sympathy. Then found the rep’s telecom staffer. Made an appt, went down to DC. Need to read the bills and get involved.

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