connect / 2015

Expanding Participation with Online Voting in LA Neighborhood Councils

Expanding Participation with Online Voting in LA Neighborhood Councils

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Maker Challenge by Civic Tech USC

Data-driven research and recommendations for the 2016 online voting pilot of the Los Angeles Neighborhood Councils. We will evaluate the impact of the online voting pilot on voter turnout and engagement, and develop recommendations and best practices for maximizing participation in future online elections in LA that become a model for cities around the country.


In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • Central LA
  • South LA
  • City of Los Angeles

How do you plan to use these resources to make change?

  • Conduct research
  • Engage residents and stakeholders
  • Implement and track policy

How will your proposal improve the following “Connect” metrics?

  • Rates of volunteerism
  • Voting rates by race
  • Participation in neighborhood councils
  • Percentage of Angelenos that volunteer informally (Dream Metric)
  • Government responsiveness to residents’ needs (Dream Metric)
  • Attendance at public/open streets gatherings (Dream Metric)

Describe in greater detail how you will make LA the best place to connect.

We are planning a study of the planning, implementation, and effectiveness of the online voting option for Los Angeles Neighborhood Councils. Using surveys and interviews with voters and local officials, historical and real-time voter data, and website and user experience analytics, we plan to explore and answer the following questions:

  • Turnout and engagement - How does the option to vote online impact voter turnout in the 35 neighborhood councils that have signed on to use the system? What is the impact on turnout among young adults? What other kinds of local civic engagement are affected by the online voting option?

  • Design, implementation, and analytics - Map the process of voting to understand voter behavior and barriers to participation. How could the design and implementation of the voting platform, and the avenues through which users find and access it, be improved in future elections?

  • Best practices - Which neighborhood councils experienced the biggest boost in turnout because of the online option, and what can we learn from them? What are the best practices for other local, state, and national governments looking to implement online voting?

Please explain how you will evaluate your work.

Successful outcomes for this project include:

  • Produce research and recommendations that are used by local officials across LA, and that contribute to expanded participation in neighborhood council elections.
  • Identify and distribute best practices for expanding voter turnout using easy-to-use online voting platforms that are as secure as possible given current technological limitations.
  • Help to test and refine online voting technologies in lower stakes elections like neighborhood councils before they are used in larger elections.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?

  • Money (financial capital)
  • Volunteers/staff (human capital)
  • Publicity/awareness (social capital)
  • Community outreach
  • Network/relationship support