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Davenport Institute to Host Conference on Elections and Technology

The Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership at the Pepperdine University School of Public Policy will host the one-day conference “Election 2.016: Technology and Civic Engagement” at Wilburn Auditorium at the Drescher Graduate Campus in Malibu on Friday, October 14, from 10 AM to 5 PM.

The five-session conference will bring together panels of technology innovators, recognized academics, political strategists, democracy advocates, and students to explore how technology is changing the way voters engage in the political and election processes at the local and national government levels.

Each session will examine a specific topic related to the influence of technological advancements on the voting process:

  • Session 1: Informed Voting in the Information Age

This session will examine how online and mobile technology is changing the ways that voters find information about issues, and how data visualization helps voters sort through information.


Daniel Newman, MapLight

Kamy Akhvan, ProCon.org

Nate Kaplan, SeePolitical

  • Session 2: Networking for Engagement

This panel will consider the challenges raised by social media and the effects of silo-ing, and how new platforms and applications seek to mitigate these effects through transparency and dialogue.


Matt Mahan, Brigade

James Hall, Open Campaign

  • Lunch Keynote: From Kissing Babies to Liking Posts: How Social Media Has Changed the American Campaign

The lunchtime keynote panel will feature chief social media strategists from presidential campaigns:

Vince Harris, Rand Paul and Donald Trump campaigns

Melissa Ryan, Barack Obama 2012 and various progressive campaigns

  • Session 3: Getting to the Ballot Box: Technology and Political Engagement

This session will discuss how technology is changing the ability of individuals to engage in political campaigns, discussions, and movements.


Jim Cupples, Nation Builder

Jill Brownfield, TurboVote

Adam Silver, CitizenUp


Alex Kouts, Lincoln Initiative

  • Session 4: Election Day Technology

The idea of online voting may remind citizens about the potential security and privacy issues that could arise. This session explores the best ways to keep voting machines and poll books up to date for a smooth and legitimate voter experience.


Greg Miller, OSET Foundation

Lori Steele Contorer, Everyone Counts


Derek Muller, Pepperdine School of Law

  • Session 5: County Registrar Roundtable: Implementing Election 2.0

Dean Logan, Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk, Los Angeles County

Neal Kelley, Registrar, Orange County


Monica Childers Crane, Democracy Works

“Our goal is to encourage broader engagement in both discussion and action around elections, specifically to drive voter registration and election awareness within the Pepperdine community,” says Ashley Trim (MPP ’09), executive director of the Davenport Institute. “We are doing this in conjunction with a broader university effort to promote elections, and we want to have a connection between the technology world and the public policy world.”

For additional information about the conference, and to register to attend, visit the Pepperdine University page on the Eventbrite website.