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Who won Charles Koch’s ‘Liberty Hackathon?’

By Josh Richman
Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013 at 11:30 am in Technology in politics.

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.

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