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BallotReady and Committee of Seventy to Pilot New Voter Tool for Philadelphia Elections in 2017

April 27, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:                                                                                                                                                               Patrick Christmas, Policy Program Manager, 267-940-4503, pchristmas@seventy.org                 Aviva Rosman, BallotReady, COO, 773-451-5570, aviva@ballotready.org

BallotReady’s New CivicEngine helps prepare voters for Election Day

PHILADELPHIA, PA – Committee of Seventy, a 113-year-old nonpartisan advocate for better government, and BallotReady, a Chicago-based start-up, today announced the launch of CivicEngine, a new tool that helps organizations inform voters about their entire ballot and create a plan to vote every election. BallotReady has been working with Seventy to prepare CivicEngine for Philadelphia’s 2017 municipal elections.

“Especially in municipal election years, voters are confronted with dozens of low-profile candidates,” said Seventy CEO David Thornburgh, “The only way to construct a well-informed ballot is to put together a list of all candidate choices well before arriving at the polls. Tools like CivicEngine are making it easier to consider, save and share these choices.”

BallotReady CEO Alex Niemczewski founded the company in 2015 after recognizing the daunting challenge for the typical voter in researching candidates across an entire ballot. Since then, BallotReady picked up a win in the 2016 National Invitational Public Policy Challenge, hosted by the Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania. The platform grew quickly in the midst of the presidential election, covering 12 states and garnering over 1 million visits in 2016.

“BallotReady is proud to be partnering with Committee of Seventy with a new tool, CivicEngine to help inform and mobilize voters to vote - and vote informed - on their entire ballot,” Niemczewski said.

With content gathered and vetted by Seventy staff, CivicEngine will provide nonpartisan information

on every candidate and referendum on the ballot. The interface is desktop- and mobile-friendly, designed for users to easily add their preferred candidates to a list they can save and share prior to Election Day. Sharable ballots can be sent via email, allowing senders to add explanations of their choices.

The Committee of Seventy will be aggressively promoting the new tool and its email-sharing feature leading up to polls opening on May 16. “We’re particularly excited about the ability for voters to share their ballots with their friends, family and colleagues ahead of Election Day,” said Thornburgh. “What better way to foster discussion about candidates and spur engagement in what is usually a low-energy, low turnout election year?”

The tool will also include recommendations from the Pennsylvania Bar Association for judicial candidates seeking Supreme, Superior and Commonwealth Court seats, and from the Philadelphia Bar Association for Common Pleas and Municipal Court candidates.

Seventy’s website, www.seventy.org, will continue to provide candidate profiles, descriptions of offices on the ballot and explanations of ballot questions. Seventy urges voters to review their Rights and Responsibilities, in particular, before heading to the polls on May 16.

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The Committee of Seventy is an independent nonprofit advocate for better politics and better government in Philadelphia and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. For more information, see www.seventy.org.

BallotReady’s mission is to create great voter guides to help inform and engage voters on the entire ballot, every election. For more information, see www.ballotready.com.