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We joined Amalgamated Bank and Rock the Vote to raise awareness about the importance of voting. Check out this video from our #NYCVOTES concert series.

// Read about it here

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#NYTM Interviews NYC Mayoral Candidates:

A Conversation with Bill Thomson

As part of NY Tech Meetup’s efforts to support our community’s continued growth, we have been engaged in making sure our voices are included in the policy discussions during this year’s NYC mayoral election. As you know, New Yorkers will elect a new Mayor for the first time since 2001. A significant amount has changed in those 12 years, especially when it comes to the technology sector in the city. The technology sector’s current renaissance and rapid growth is having a positive impact on the city’s economy, on job growth, on innovation, and on the expansion of opportunity for New Yorkers throughout the city.

In January, we published a series of policy proposals which outlined some of our most important goals for the next mayor to consider and we are happy to report that many of the candidates have incorporated some of them in their published tech policy pronouncements.

The next step in the process is to hear directly from the candidates themselves on how they are going to govern in ways that recognize our community’s needs as well as the contribution our sector can make to NYC’s future.

So to help answer some of those questions, NY Tech Meetup has been hosting a series of more in-depth conversations with the mayoral candidates. In each conversation the candidate has 10 to 15 minutes to make opening remarks and then answers questions from a small audience comprised of members of the NYTM board of directors and members of the tech community who have been actively involved in policy and advocacy work.

Watch the first group or interviews here: http://nytm.org/programs/advocacy

NYC Mayor Calls Potential Successor's Campaign "Racist"

NYC, that much-vaunted melting pot of racial harmony and togetherness, is in the midst of choosing its next mayor. The race includes a black guy who almost beat the incumbent in the last election, an Asian guy who’s campaign is barely registering after legal setbacks, a white lesbian lady who’s endorsement by the incumbent has become a liability, and a white guy who’s married to a formerly-lesbian black woman. Great material for this blog huh? I thought so too…

Keep reading

vimeo

#NYTM Interviews NYC Mayoral Candidates:

A conversation with Jack Hidary

As part of NY Tech Meetup’s efforts to support our community’s continued growth, we have been engaged in making sure our voices are included in the policy discussions during this year’s NYC mayoral election. As you know, New Yorkers will elect a new Mayor for the first time since 2001. A significant amount has changed in those 12 years, especially when it comes to the technology sector in the city. The technology sector’s current renaissance and rapid growth is having a positive impact on the city’s economy, on job growth, on innovation, and on the expansion of opportunity for New Yorkers throughout the city.

In January, we published a series of policy proposals which outlined some of our most important goals for the next mayor to consider and we are happy to report that many of the candidates have incorporated some of them in their published tech policy pronouncements.

The next step in the process is to hear directly from the candidates themselves on how they are going to govern in ways that recognize our community’s needs as well as the contribution our sector can make to NYC’s future.

So to help answer some of those questions, NY Tech Meetup has been hosting a series of more in-depth conversations with the mayoral candidates. In each conversation the candidate has 10 to 15 minutes to make opening remarks and then answers questions from a small audience comprised of members of the NYTM board of directors and members of the tech community who have been actively involved in policy and advocacy work.

Watch the first group or interviews here: http://nytm.org/programs/advocacy

Good Tuesday morning!!! I think all people deserve to exercise all their human and legal rights to the fullest extent. My ancestors fought and died for me to be able to vote and have a say in this country that they were enslaved on for so many years. I’m so thankful for their selfless and courageous acts towards rights for people of color in USA and I proudly exercise my right to vote for what I want to see. I voted today, did you? #vote #ivoted #elections #electiontuesday #nycvotes #kingscounty

#NYCPrimaries

Polls close at 9pm! Did you vote yet? You still have time! Find your poll site with www.nycvotes.org right from your vote. Make your mark. Vote. #NYC2013 #IVoteNYC Please share and encourage your friends to head to the polls before they close!

via #NYCVotes


Where do they stand on tech? 
Watch #NYTM interviews with NYC Mayoral candidates Quinn, Lhota, Carrion, De Blasio, Hidary, Thompson and Liu here: http://t.co/MP1UeuR43H

What is the incentive for young people to vote in local elections?

Lexi Neibart - MPA Candidate at NYU Wagner

On the morning of September 10th 2013 (NYC Primary Election Day), I poured my coffee and took out the NYC Voter Guide to review who I would vote for that evening.  Throughout the day I asked my friends who they were voting for and many asked, “there is an election today?”  After a few conversations like that, I came to realize that if my peers didn’t know there was an election, how could they be expected to know who was running?  How could they even care to vote?  I suspected that my social group wasn’t the only segment of young New Yorkers who hadn’t considered voting that day.  I was proven right after I walked into my polling place at 5:30pm to find out that I was not only the 100th voter that day, but I was also the youngest person to show up.   

My experience last month is not an unusual one. According to the NYC Campaign Finance Board (NYCCFB), only 29% of the 4.1 million registered voters cast ballots in the 2009 general election for Mayor.  More surprisingly, that number drops to 4% of eligible votes under the age of 30.  Let me underscore that: 4 out of 100 eligible voters under the age of 30 voted for the Mayor of New York City. CIRCLE (The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement) has suggested that over 50% of voters (under 30) self-reported that they did not vote in the 2010 midterm elections because they were “too busy/conflicting work” and/or “not interested/felt my vote would not count.” Those both sound like excuses to me.  So how do we get people to care?

This is a question that I have been struggling to answer.  I am a student in Professor Beth Noveck’s Government 3.0 class at NYU Wagner and we have been given the assignment to identify a problem and address possible solutions through the use of technology.  A few days after the assignment was given, I found myself browsing the online dating site, OKCupid, when I thought I had come up with the greatest idea of all time.  Why not repurpose an already successful application among 18-30 year olds for voter engagement?  According to statisticbrain.com, of the 54 million people in the United States, 40 million have tried online dating.  So why not use this proven method to match voters with the candidate that he/she is most likely to support? This could serve as the platform for engaging people on the issues that matter to them in a format that they have already accepted.  I thought I had my entire project laid out in front of me.  That lasted for about a week.

Over the last few weeks, our class has been exploring citizen engagement and how to encourage participation.  I remember sitting in one particular class where we were discussing the different incentive structures for motivating people to do something.  At that moment, I realized I had been approaching this project from the wrong end.  For a tool to be successful, it needs an audience.  And consequentially, that audience needs a reason to use the application.  For OKCupid, the motivation is the potential to find a partner.  For Fourquare, it’s becoming the Mayor of your favorite bar.  For Challenge.gov, it’s the potential for a cash prize and recognition among your peers.  So, what would the motivation be for a 25 year old to educate themselves on local elections, and thus, vote? 

I had an interesting meeting a few weeks ago with David Moore of the Participatory Politics Foundation to discuss this very issue.  He pointed me in the direction of a number of organizations that are trying to address voter engagement at the Federal and State level.  The most compelling sites that I came across were, TurboVote  (a great tool for getting people to the polls), Rock the Vote (the first organization to enlist the “coolness factor” for voting) and the League of Women Voters of NYC  (the best of breed with its vote411.org site, but stale and academic).  Each of these sites is doing their part to get voters to the polls, but all lack the incentive for young people to follow through.  Rock the Vote comes close, but it only operates at the Federal level.  To me, the local level is where young people should care the most because our daily lives are directly affected by the decisions made by local officials.  Sounds compelling, right?  So why is it so hard to translate that into action?

That is the question I am struggling to answer.  I’d like to say that I’m not back at the beginning, but rather, changing course.  The development of a tool to educate, engage and motive young people to vote in local elections is probably a worthwhile endeavor.  However, unless there is a sufficient incentive for participation, it will just be another black hole on the Internet.  So let me leave you with my final plea.  What would motivate young people to vote?  Actually, the more pertinent question is, what motivates young people not to vote and how do we come up with a more compelling incentive to get them to the polls?