Yesterday evening, Austin Tech Alliance, a nonprofit recently founded to educate and activate the grassroots of Austin’s tech sector, announced the public beta version of its voter engagement app — free and available for download in both Apple’s App Store and Android’s Google Play.
Designed to make civic engagement easier for Austin’s tech community, the app lists Austin City Council Members and candidates, provides the initial stages of an issue-based voting guide, and easily allows users to locate Travis and Williamson County polling locations on a dynamic map.
As the app gets built out, it will become one of the primary means for ATA to communicate with its members, including information regarding ongoing policy issues and polling to allow ATA members to provide direct feedback to the organization. The app was built by Mutual Mobile, an Austin company, which turned around the app in a little more than three weeks.
“The goal of ATA is to educate and engage the grassroots of Austin’s tech community, and our immediate focus was to get this in their hands by the start of early voting,” said Joshua Baer, executive director of Capital Factory and cofounder of ATA. “This app provides a unique tool for users to connect with Austin leaders and learn where they stand on the issues.”
“I’m really excited about the app’s potential to build the Austin tech community’s civic engagement,” said Dan Graham, CEO of Buildasign and cofounder of ATA. “With more than 100,000 tech employees in the Austin area, efforts like this will help to make sure Austin stays the tech-forward, tech-friendly city that we love to call home.”
Austin Tech Alliance also developed a set of core principles meant to acknowledge civic values shared between our city’s leaders and the technology community.
After all, shared civic values are part of what makes Austin the city it is:
- Austin is a vibrant, welcoming city in which we choose to build our businesses, create strong community bonds, and raise our families.
- We acknowledge the investments in human, environmental, public, and business infrastructure made to create this city we love calling home.
- We seek to participate in and help realize a vision for Austin that preserves the quality of life for all Austinites.
- We believe our time, talents, and treasure can enhance Austin’s future and that entrepreneurship — civic, artistic, business, in all forms — is an essential part of Austin’s character.
As members of Austin’s tech community, Austin Tech Alliance pledges that:
- We will work with leaders on what they identify as the biggest challenges in their districts and the city as a whole by helping present tech-enabled solutions to those challenges.
- We will push to get Austin’s tech community civically engaged and educated on issues that are important to Austin.
- We will work to keep Austin a tech-forward city that attracts the most innovative people in the world.
- We will promote efforts to ensure Austin’s tech community is diverse and representative of the greater Austin community.
We sent these core principles to City of Austin’s elected leaders and candidates for City Council and asked whether they supported the following:
- Austin is a city of the future that embraces tech-based solutions to our challenges.
- Austin is a place to try new things and think outside the box.
- Austin’s tech sector is a vital part of our community’s economy, culture, and success.
- Everyone in Austin should benefit from the job creation and educational opportunities brought by the tech sector.
- It is important that the Austin tech community provides input to elected officials on relevant issues.
The response was overwhelmingly positive, receiving public support for the core principles from the following:
- Mayor Steve Adler;
- Council Member Delia Garza and Wesley Faulkner, who’s challenging CM Garza;
- Council Member Greg Casar and Louis Herrin, who’s challenging CM Casar;
- Council Member Ann Kitchen;
- Jimmy Flannigan, who’s challenging Council Member Don Zimmerman;
- Natalie Gauldin, who’s challenging Council Member Leslie Pool;
- Council Member Ellen Troxclair; and
- Council Member Sheri Gallo, as well as Alison Alter and Nick Virden, who are challenging CM Gallo.
This article will be updated as we continue to receive additional responses.
About Austin Tech Alliance
Founded in 2016 by Joshua Baer and Dan Graham, Austin Tech Alliance is focused on educating, engaging, and activating the 100,000+ grassroots of Austin’s tech sector. Our goal is to keep Austin a tech-forward, tech-friendly city that attracts the most innovative people in the world. ATA educates Austin tech employees on policy issues, promotes policies that support the growth of Austin’s innovation economy, works to get the tech community registered and voting, and advocates for tech-based solutions so our city remains the best place to live, work, and raise a family.