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Sparknotes for Voters: Making Democracy More Accessible

Category: Contestants

 

Name: Kiran Bhimani

NYU affiliation: Arts and Sciences

NYU status: Undergraduate

Did you enter last year?: No

Do you have any teammates?: Yes

How many, including yourself?: 7

 

Concept Name

Sparknotes for Voters: Making Democracy More Accessible

 

High Concept Statement

Participating in democracy can be hard — it takes time, effort, and access to information that many simply do not have. The system is overwhelming for first-time voters and political junkies alike, and can feel as though it’s designed to discourage the very people it’s supposed to empower.

Status Quo

Engaged citizens attempting to navigate the political process have to do their own research. While there are many amazing existing resources, there is not a single centralized system that has it all in one place. Someone looking to update their voter registration, find out when their next local election is, and get information on their current representatives will have to visit at least three different websites. This is a time-consuming process that not everyone can afford.

 

Competition

There are no apps in the market currently that gather every resource necessary to participate in democracy. The existing websites include the ‘Indivisible Guide’ for contacting members of Congress, the Town Hall Project, and sites like vote.org for how to register to vote — but there is no existing app that has it all in one place, especially ones that send push notifications based on user-specific locations.

 

Solution

Our app is a nonpartisan, mobile native, one-stop-shop to stay informed of elections, important dates, policy, representatives, polling places, and town halls through convenient push notifications. We are making it easy and accessible for disenfranchised people to participate, using a vocabulary that first-time voters can understand.

 

Revenue Model

SparkVotes is a social venture that aims to make our democracy simple and more accessible. To have ads on our app would go against everything we believe in, so we intend to fund the project through grants and partnering with existing organizations. We will be able to measure our social impact through follow up notifications. For example, the app will ask a user if they are interested in going to an upcoming town hall in their area, send a push notification reminding them in advance, and ask whether they did indeed attend the event. For every action that we facilitate, we will ask users to confirm their participation, and thus we will be able to track our impact, and if successful, use it to apply for further grants.  

 

Which platform would you like to launch your app on?

iPhone

 

Which category best describes your app?

Education