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Two Cities Test Tinder-Like App to Encourage Citizen Engagement

West Sacramento, Calif., and Santa Monica are testing a Tinder-like app that "meets citizens where they are."

AUSTIN, TEXAS — How do you engage citizens when most of them don't have time or interest in attending local government meetings?

"When we make decisions in those kind of meetings based on who shows up ... we end up getting the wrong outcomes; we pick the wrong thing; we chose often the most inequitable things; we sometimes pick based on our most animal instincts," said West Sacramento, Calif., Mayor Christopher Cabaldon.

That's why his city, along with Santa Monica, is testing a Tinder-like app that "meets citizens where they are." Like the dating app Tinder, it lets users swipe left or right to express their approval -- or dislike -- of something. But instead of potential dates, users would be rating possible city projects.

Watch Cabaldon discuss the app, and what he calls "the analog divide," in this Facebook Live video.

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This story was originally published by Governing.

Caroline Cournoyer is a staff writer for Governing.
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