Who won Charles Koch’s ‘Liberty Hackathon?’

I wrote an item about a month ago about a “Liberty Hackathon” that was to be held in San Francisco, sponsored by billionaire conservative benefactor Charles Koch and aiming to produce new apps “that help to advance individual and economic liberty.”

Cam UrbanThe event was held June 21-22, and the outcome might not be what many expected. Though Koch and his brother, David, are well-known partisans, “the apps built at the hackathon were not what the Koch brothers hoped or paid for,” said Cam Urban, 24, of San Francisco, who won the competition with colleague Breck Yunits.

“The majority of apps were apolitical, and certainly did not promote small government,” said Urban, a nonpartisan voter who originally hails from Vermont. “The product we built, CheckBox, is a perfect example. Only about 55 percent of eligible voters actually vote so we built the first secure and easy online voting platform. Now anyone can vote from home, regardless of whether the person is immobile, busy working, or living in a remote area.”

The Koch brothers, though the entities and political campaigns they fund, have been instrumental in advancing voter ID laws in several states over recent years.

“Unlike the partisan objectives of the Koch brothers, we hope this will change the world by providing a true representational democracy,” Urban said.

NPR’s Morning Edition offered an interesting segment on the Liberty Hackathon as well.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • RR senile columnist

    Zounds! I miss the days of “Bush an’ Cheney/ you can’t hide…” They were so much more fun than the Koch bros