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Lawmakers Want a Few Good Hackers to Help Bring Congress Into the 21st Century

The Capitol in Washington, D.C., seat of the U.S. Congress.

On May 1, participants will submit their proposed technology solutions to make the U.S. Congress more efficient to Hack4Congress D.C.; a winner will be announced within several hours.

Credit: f11photo/

The Hack4Congress D.C., organized by the OpenGov Foundation and Harvard University's Ash Center, brought together technology enthusiasts and non-technology hobbyists to work on projects intended to make the U.S. Congress more efficient.

Hack4Congress  received more than 24 submissions of problems, and many were sent in by members of Congress themselves. The sample of digital projects includes a program that provides mobile access to campaign finance data, a Twitter filter for congressional staffers to keep tabs on government-related social media buzz, and a system that tracks how long it takes for congressional offices to respond to letters from their constituents.

Teams will present their projects on May 1, and winners from a handful of categories will be announced a few hours later. Projects will be evaluated on their impact, feasibility, ability to be replicated, and accessibility. The team deemed best-in-show will have the opportunity to present its work directly to members of Congress.

"Given the scarcity of resources, creating a strong digital presence often falls off of the list of top priorities to the detriment of communication and outreach to constituents and other audiences," says Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX).

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