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What’s New in Civic Tech: NCSL’s Recount Processes by State

Plus, the NDIA reaches a new 500-affiliate milestone amid a crisis that emphasizes importance of its work; Pittsburgh groups to host a month of GIS events; and Delaware has launched a COVID-19 alert app.

by / November 5, 2020
The White House Shutterstock/S.Borisov

The 2020 presidential election continues to crawl toward a conclusion that has been delayed due to increased mail-in voting amid the pandemic, and as the votes are counted, officials with the Trump campaign have at times suggested they will be requesting recounts. For those wondering about recount policies, the National Conference of State Legislatures has created a centralized location to find election recount rules by state.

As of this writing, the winner of the presidential election remains unclear, and the recount information is not yet needed. Still, to have it all in one place — and easily summarized to make it readable — is of potential interest, likely to be even more relevant should the Trump campaign make good on the statements its made about asking for recounts.

The state that the Trump campaign has suggested it will ask to be recounted is Wisconsin. Using this guide, which is alphabetized, one can easily scroll down and learn what that state’s policy is for recounts: “Any candidate voted for at any election who is an aggrieved party or any elector who voted upon any referendum question at any election.”

It’s all fascinating stuff, and it makes for time-consuming reading as one awaits the slow trickle of the final election results this year.

NDIA Reaches 500-Affiliate Milestone

The National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) has reached a new milestone — it now has more than 500 affiliates, drawing from 44 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. 

The NDIA’s mission is to serve as a unified voice for the importance of home broadband access, public broadband access, the availability of personal devices, local tech training programs, and other related work, all of which falls under the umbrella of digital inclusion, ultimately in the service of digital equity.

The NDIA does all this by working at the intersection of grassroots community engagement and nuanced knowledge of the space, including the technical side of things, the most recent research, and how to build effective relationships or coalitions. 

The more than 500 entities that support the group are generally split between nonprofit organizations and government agencies, which serve to show support for its mission, work and initiatives. Interested parties can become an NDIA affiliate via the group’s website.

The work that the NDIA does has perhaps never been as discussed or as relevant as in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which has necessitated widespread digitization efforts for American life, leaving behind those that don’t have reliable Internet, devices or the skills to use them effectively.

Digital equity and digital inclusion work in the United States this year has been significantly bolstered by a wave of decision-makers buy in as well as private entities wanting to help with work such as getting laptops and Internet connections to public school students.

Delaware Has Launched a COVID-19 Alert App

Delaware has launched a COVID alert app — dubbed COVID Alert DE — and it has now notched more than 50,000 downloads, the state reports.

The app in Delaware is similar to others being built and launched by state governments across the country. The way it works is simple: People download it voluntarily, of course, and then they get a notification if contact tracing identifies them as someone who has been near someone else who tested positive for COVID-19. Unlike some other states that have built these apps, the Deleware app functions in nearby states as well, likely an effect of the state’s size and close location to other major East Coast population centers.

As the state notes on its website, however, the app is obviously no substitute for the social distancing measures necessary to not get the virus in the first place. Instead, how it works is that once you’ve been exposed to the virus, you are made aware, and you can then act accordingly — be it by going into quarantine or by going to get tested. 

This app was created out of a collaboration between the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) and the Delaware Department of Technology and Information (DTI), and it is available for both Apple and Android mobile devices.

Pittsburgh Groups Team Up to Host GIS Day Events

A number of entities and groups in Pittsburgh are teaming up to coordinate and host a month of GIS Day Events, making this celebration more like GIS Days, plural.

There is a centralized location for these activities online, highlights of which include scavenger hunts, mapping explorations, mapping games, trivia, research submissions, panels and a hackathon — all of which are built around a central theme of GIS. 

The groups teaming up to make all of this happen are World History Center (WHC), Pitt's Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA), the Western Pennsylvania Regional Data Center (WPRDC), the departments of Geology and Environmental Science and Anthropology, the Urban Studies program, the University of Pittsburgh Library System and Carnegie Mellon University Libraries.

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Zack Quaintance Assistant News Editor

Zack Quaintance is the assistant news editor for Government Technology. His background includes writing for daily newspapers across the country and developing content for a software company in Austin, Texas. He is now based in Washington, D.C. He can be reached via email.

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