What’s Debatable (and What’s Not)

Teching the vote; everything you ever wanted to read about tonight's debate; and more.


  • Here’s our Christine Cupaiuolo with everything you could possibly need to know about how you can view and respond to tonight’s first presidential debate.

  • “Imagine a candidate who wants to increase public confusion about where he stands on things so that voters give up on trying to stay informed and instead vote with raw emotion. Under those conditions, does asking ‘Where do you stand, sir?’ serve the goals of journalism, or does it enlist the interviewer in the candidate’s chaotic plan?” That’s longtime press critic Jay Rosen writing on his blog PressThink about how and why Donald Trump’s candidacy has fried the circuits of political journalism. The whole thing is a must-read, especially if you think fact-based debate and a clear public record are essential for any kind of civil society to function.

  • Joe Goldman, the president of the Democracy Fund, explains why Donald Trump’s suggestion that the November election results might be “rigged” is so dangerous. He writes, “The alternative to relying on elections and rule of law is unthinkable and should be rejected in the strongest possible terms.”

  • Teching the vote: Facebook is pushing its users to go register to vote (or share that they are already registered), undoubtedly having a big impact on registration. (In two days earlier this year, about 200,000 people registered in California in response to a prompt from Facebook.) But as Alex Howard points out, this once again demonstrates the power of the giant social network, and the need for more transparency about how it deploys these prompts.

  • Vote.usa.gov has had more than 7.8 million hits in the last 7 days, according to Analytics.us.gov. 200,000 voter registration forms have been downloaded from the site during that period.

  • Speaker of voter registration, our Jessica McKenzie has the scoop on HelloVote, a chatbot that will help register to vote solely by text message.

  • This is civic tech: The news of the Sunlight Foundation’s wind-down continues to reverberate: In this piece, GovTrack.us founder and veteran civic hacker Joshua Tauberer argues that the second act of civic tech is over and a third one is beginning, as expectations about what it can do get more realistic and techies get better at genuinely working with (not for) the communities they are trying to serve.

  • Related: Luigi Ray-Montanez explains why he’s running for the Code for America Brigade national advisory council.

  • Here’s the whole list of candidates running.

  • Congrats to Civic Hall member Andrew Golis, founder of This.cm, who is going to Vox.com to be its first general manager.

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