Hack for Democracy

315 Montgomery St 16th Floor
94104 San Francisco, CA
United States
Saturday, March 29, 2014 to Sunday, March 30, 2014
Goals and Issues: 
Hosted by : 
Team Democracy

Design, Technology, and Marketing Hackers Wanted!

Americans have lost faith in our system of governance. 96% of voters agree that money in politics is a problem, but 91% don’t think it can be fixed.

But we know we can fix it. That’s why we need your support for the movement to restore a government of, by, and for the people — using design, technology, and media.


Join us for 2 days to create online tools to organize the democracy movement and design campaigns to get big money out of politics. These projects will support Professor Lawrence Lessig’s NH Rebellion (a project of Rootstrikers), as well as the broader movement to restore our democracy.

Please join us if…

  • You are a web or software developer, UX or graphic designer, or marketing professional.
  • You want to meet like-minded people and have fun.
  • You can’t resist a challenge.
  • You want to make a difference in the movement to end the system of corruption in DC.

Hack for Democracy is free for participants, but we non-profits need all the support we can get. Please consider making a contribution to support this and future events.


Hack for Democracy is a little unique, so let us explain.

First, we have a couple projects lined up to build tools for the NH Rebellion, providing an opportunity to directly support their future efforts.

Second, “hacks” don’t have to be limited to technology. A project can be software, website, interesting design concept, marketing campaign, video, or anything to support the movement to restore representative democracy.

Third, we have a BIG concept to create a centralized hub for democracy organizations and activists that would integrate several smaller projects. Check it out below.

And of course, like any hackathon, we want to hear YOUR ideas, so please come prepared to pitch your idea and build a team.

TECH PROJECT:  NH Rebellion Presidential Candidate Tracker

Create a web-based tool to support NH Rebellion volunteers in asking every presidential candidate “"How are YOU going to end the system of corruption in Washington?" Functional requirements include:

  • Track presidential candidate appearance events
  • Organize volunteers to attend events and ask the question
  • Organize volunteers to film the question and candidate response
  • Share videos and reports of each event’s results
  • Allow people to comment on responses

MARKETING PROJECT:  “The First Issue” Campaign

Create a media campaign that explains Lawrence Lessig’s first issue:  We want to solve a number of issues in this country — tax reform, environment, debt, health care, etc.  — but we must end systemic corruption first.

TECH PROJECT:  NH Rebellion Fundraising

Structure and enhance the NH Rebellion platform using NationBuilder with better (and more affordable) tools for fundraising. Ideas include individual supporter custom pages, gamification, pledges per mile walked, event registration, and more.

TECH PROJECT: California Clean Money Campaign Tools

The California Clean Money Campaign's websites — CAclean.org and YesFairElections.org — have powerful activist tools that have helped pass campaign finance legislation by generating over 125,000 emails and faxes to legislators from their constituents. Make them even more powerful by upgrading and extending their capabilities.

  • Re-implement signup, petition, letter-writing, & phone-calling tools to work within YesFairElections.org PHP site using REST interface to CiviCRM
  • Implement letter-writing & phone tools as single-page HTML5 modules in Drupal.
  • Implement other tools as modules in Drupal.
  • Modules to easily add content with petition and Facebook options.
  • Connect ActBlue.com's donation system to CiviCRM
  • Connect Mailchimp email system with CiviCRM
  • Move customized YesFairElections.org site inside the Drupal Framework.

TECH PROJECTS:  Democracy Movement Hub

What if there were a centralized website for people to learn how to get involved and support the movement? Design and develop a website that allows people to:

  • Learn about the various organizations in the democracy movement
  • Find ways to support the movement through donations and volunteering
  • Publish and share actions from different organizations and recruit volunteers
  • Create, publish, rate, and share social media.
  • Share, discuss, and evaluate ideas — strategies, activism, public policy, etc. — to support the advancement of representative democracy.
  • Get news about the movement from many organizations in one spot.

SCHEDULE (provisional)

Saturday, March 29


Doors open, check in


Welcome and introduction


Presentation by Jeff McLean, executive director of NH Rebellion, with video from Lawrence Lessig


Project briefing


Form teams


The hacking begins




Hacking continues




End of official day

All night

Hacking continues for those who wish to work late or overnight

Sunday, March 30


Doors open, day begins




Submission deadline


Project presentations


Judges vote and attendees vote


Results and prizes


End of official event


Join us at a nearby bar, friends and colleagues welcome


We are planning other fun activities throughout the hackathon.


What You Need to Bring

• Your body, your mind, and your ideas

• A laptop with your preferred development, graphic design, and productivity tools installed



1. Judges Choice: Technical Project

2. Judges Choice: Marketing Project (if there are at least 2)

3. People’s Choice: selected by popular vote. (This is for the democracy movement, after all!)

Note: Prizes are yet to be determined.


Q: Who is Team Democracy anyway?

A: We are a small group of folks in the San Francisco Bay area who have been working together for nearly a year to explore how design, technology, and marketing solutions could support the movement to restore our representative democracy. This is our first public event. We are in the process of becoming an official non-profit organization if you would like to support us.

Q: Don’t you know that the United States of America isn’t a democracy? It's a republic.

A: A republic is a form of representative democracy. So although our government is not an absolute democracy or direct democracy, it is nonetheless a democracy. To save time, we sometimes just call it a democracy. Both are correct.

Q: San Francisco? Are you a bunch of lefties?

A: We have a variety of opinions on substantive issues like tax reform, education, healthcare, privacy, environment, etc… But none of that matters. The issue of big money in politics means that none of us are being represented by our lawmakers. Restoring our representative democracy means that all viewpoints — left, right, and center — can compete in the marketplace of ideas. We need to work together to solve this problem.

Q: Will there be food?

A: Yes. Lunch, snacks, and beverages will be provided, and we are lining up sponsors to help with other meals. There will definitely be caffeine for late-night and overnight hackers.

Q: What’s up with the prizes?

A: The best reward is to create something new that may change the world for the better! But we are securing prizes for top teams nonetheless. Stay tuned for details.

Legal Stuff

All original submissions to Hack for Democracy remain the intellectual property of the individuals that developed them. Your creation is yours to share or sell as you see fit. We encourage participants to share their projects as open source and/or Creative Commons to promote innovation in this space.

For More Information

Contact us at teamdemocracyus@gmail.com.