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This Meetup strives to make New York City a Model for 21st Century Democracy. We are committed to using technology to build a scalable, sustainable, flexible platform designed to engage more New Yorkers in their local democratic process, that can then be used to serve the Nation and inspire others globally.

Never before has local government thrown its weight behind a platform that truly embraces the ideals of ‘by the people, for the people.’ Here, we will continue our conversation around the underlying question:

How can we build a platform that will…

…engage people more actively in the civic life of their communities
…reinvent the way we communicate with each other about elections
…be ‘government-approved’ yet built and operated outside of government bureaucracy
…do all of this in a way that is scalable and sustainable, creating a model that can be adopted by other cities worldwide?


21st Century Democracy is an outgrowth of the important work of the NYC Campaign Finance Board, the parent of the NYC Voter Assistance Advisory Committee, which is leading this effort.

We launched the project in November 2011 with a special town hall event hosted by Brian Lehrer and broadcast live on WNYC, gathering activists, scholars, political professionals and New Yorkers across the five boroughs to explore the question, “Why vote?” Over 1 million listeners tuned in by radio and live stream, and hundreds participated in this large-scale brainstorming session via text and tweet.

Over the coming weeks, the group plans to lay out a technology roadmap that will identify the tools and skills needed to approach a project of this magnitude.


The New York City Campaign Finance Board (CFB) is a nonpartisan, independent city agency that enhances the role of New York City residents in elections. The CFB’s mission is to increase voter participation and awareness, provide campaign finance information to the public, enable more citizens to run for office, strengthen the role of small contributors, and reduce the potential for actual or perceived corruption.

The Voter Assistance Advisory Committee (VAAC), was created by an amendment to the New York City Charter in 2010, to advise the New York City Campaign Finance Board on increasing voter participation and awareness, with special attention to groups and communities of residents that are underrepresented among voters, including civil rights and disabled groups. Under the leadership of its Chair, Art Chang, VAAC has also formed a Digital Action Working Group (DAWG) to identify and connect with partners in New York City’s non-profit and technology communities who will help make this vision a reality.

Art Chang, Chairman of the Voter Assistance Advisory Committee and board member of the NYC Campaign Finance Board. Art is a serial entrepreneur who has helped create and restart over 30 private and public sector organizations. He is the founder and CEO of Tipping Point Partners, an "institutional entrepreneur" that serves as a seed investor and founder of software startups that build bridges between new technology and human needs, with a particular focus on using disruptive technologies to transform existing industries and government. Tipping Point believes that great software, applied intelligently, can result in positive social and economic change.  

Art serves as CEO of two of Tipping Point's portfolio companies: Cookstr, a technology company dedicated to cooking and food, serving as a data-centered "Switzerland" for rights holders; and AppOrchard, an iOS development and software company that bridges the gap between consumer Apple devices and the needs of large enterprises. He also serves as an advisor to Case Commons and to NYU’s Catherine B. Reynolds Fellowship for Social Entrepreneurship. Art has worked as an investment banker, public official and venture capital investor. His sector experience includes technology, e-commerce, media, architecture, real estate, law, government and finance. Art is a graduate of Yale University, where he majored in Women's Studies, and received an MBA in Finance from NYU's Stern School of Business.

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