Knight News Challenge

The Knight News Challenge accelerates media innovation by funding breakthrough ideas in news and information. Winners receive a share of $5 million in funding and support from Knight’s network of influential peers and advisors to help advance their ideas. The first round of 2013, which opens in February, will invite innovators from all disciplines to focus on tools for open government. In 2012, three challenge rounds, each focused on an emerging trend, drew more than 2,500 entries.

Challenge 1 - on NETWORKS: Winners were announced June 18.

Challenge 2 - on DATA: Winners were announced Sept. 20.

Challenge 3 – on MOBILE: Winners were announced Jan. 17.

Anyone, anywhere can apply for the challenge - whether for-profit start-ups or non-profit ventures. For more information on a variety of topics - from guidelines for for-profits, on intellectual property licensing, open source software and more - visit our FAQ.

North Carolina Mobile Voter Guide

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1. What is your project? [1 sentence]

The North Carolina Center for Voter Education is committed to ensuring that all voters in the state have the information necessary to cast an informed ballot, so we propose building a nonpartisan mobile voter guide for North Carolina—using open source technology so it can be replicated in other states—that will include a polling place locator with mapping and GPS, a personalized ballot, candidate information and all important dates and election information so voters have easy, quick access to the information required to cast informed votes in every race.

2. How will your project use mobile tools and approaches? [2 sentences]

We will use mobile tools to make our current online voter guide more accessible and user-friendly for voters who prefer to access information on elections and candidates with their mobile device.  By creating a mobile voter guide we will be able to reach even more voters in the state, significantly increasing the reach and scope of our work and the number of educated voters in North Carolina.

3. Who will use it and why? [1 sentence]

The mobile voter guide will be designed for use by all North Carolina voters with mobile devices as a tool to receive timely, accurate, nonpartisan information on candidates and elections in order to educate voters and remove barriers to civic participation by making access to voting information as simple and straightforward as possible.

4. Please list three ways they would learn about your project.

North Carolina voters would learn about our project through:

  • ·         Search engine optimization (our online voter guide is currently the 1st result for “voter guide north Carolina” and the 3rd result for “voting north Carolina”)

  • ·         Our organization’s social, media and partner networks
  • ·         Paid advertising campaign

5. What connections have you made, or will you make, with others [communities, organizations or networks] about your project? [2 sentences]

The Center already has great connections with community groups, nonprofits, media outlets and civic organizations across the state like the League of Women Voters, the Raleigh News and Observer and many other local and statewide organizations.  Creating a mobile version of our voter guide will give us the opportunity to reach out to more organizations, specifically focused on college campuses and other groups dedicated to working with young voters as well as community leaders throughout the state.

6. What part of the project have you already built? [1-2 sentences, feel free to include links]

As a nonprofit dedicated to informing and involving citizens so they may fully participate in democracy, we have already built the state’s most comprehensive, nonpartisan voter guide online at that is widely used by voters across the state.  Every even-numbered election year we build the voter guide to cover all 100 counties in the state and every race on the ballot, while in odd-numbered election years that feature only local races we create a guide to cover key localities in North Carolina.

7. What does success for your project look like? [1-2 sentences]

Success for this project will be a significant increase in the number of voters with easy access to nonpartisan information on voting and elections, including twice as many voters using the mobile version as those that currently use our online guide.  Ultimately, success will be making voting easier for all voters in North Carolina, encouraging voter participation, building a more informed electorate and by extension developing a more robust democracy.

8. What resources do you need to succeed? [1-2 sentences]

We already build the most comprehensive nonpartisan voter guide in the state, so for this project resources will be dedicated to creating a mobile version that expands and improves on the current guide by making it more user-friendly and by adding additional tools such as a polling place locator, which we think will be a terrific addition and is tailor-made for a mobile version of the voter guide.  To accomplish this we will need to contract with an outside organization to build the tools and applications necessary to create a precise polling place locator and personalized ballot, along with the other modifications necessary to turn our successful online guide into an even more successful mobile voter guide.

Additional details:
Please list who is on your team:
Brent Laurenz, executive director, and Bryan Warner, director of communications
Expected number of months to complete project:
6 months
Estimated Project Cost:
Brent Laurenz
Email address:
Organization [if applicable]:
North Carolina Center for Voter Education
How did you learn about the contest?