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Minnesota Office of the Secretary of State

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Secretary of State’s Capitol Code Event Kicks Off Initiative for Citizen-Driven Solutions Using Existing Public Data
Posted Date: 1/16/2014

Contact: Nathan Bowie (651) 297-8919

SAINT PAUL, Minnesota — Secretary of State Mark Ritchie announced his office will host Capitol Code: An Open Data Jam on Saturday, February 22, a collaborative, idea-sharing event for citizens to use accessible public datasets to create new technology solutions that can stimulate business ideas — such as smartphone applications or websites.

The Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State will provide public datasets for the event related to voting and elections (such as polling place information and election results), as well as business filings, official documents (proclamations, extraditions, oaths), and more. Public datasets from the Minnesota State Demographic Center, U.S. Census Bureau and other state agencies will also be available.

“Public data is a tremendous resource for Minnesotans, and I’m excited to see the innovation, new business and employment opportunities that can be generated by using this information,” says Ritchie.

Open data initiatives by government entities in the Twin Cities and in other parts of the country have resulted in technology solutions to address challenges relevant to communities:

• In the Twin Cities, open data from Metro Transit led to the development of a smartphone application that provides bus arrival and scheduling information: http://omgtransit.com/

• In New Orleans, residents can look up abandoned properties to see if they are available for purchase: http://blightstatus.nola.gov/

• In Boston, the “Adopt-a-Hydrant” program allows citizens to “adopt” nearby fire hydrants and receive reminders to clear them after snowstorms: http://commons.codeforamerica.org/apps/adopt-hydrant

Capitol Code is open to citizens, analysts, business and community leaders, designers, government officials, media, software programmers and other interested parties. Participants may register at http://capitolcode.mn.gov/. Subsequent to the event, applications developed by participants will be posted and presented online.

Capitol Code is the first step in the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State’s efforts to provide additional public datasets in a direct, immediate and accessible format to engage the public, and make government more transparent and accountable.

The event will be held at CoCo in Uptown Minneapolis; the co-working space is sponsoring the event through its Google for Entrepreneurs program. Capitol Code partners include the state’s lead technology agency, MN.IT, E-Democracy.org, the Minnesota State Demographic Center, and community technology groups such as Open Twin Cities.

About the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State
The Secretary of State is the chief election official in Minnesota and is responsible for the administration of the state’s election law. In this capacity, the office operates the Statewide Voter Registration System and prepares the official roster of voters for every election. The office also accepts filings by candidates, trains local election officials, and conducts voter education and outreach programs.

The Secretary of State is the keeper of the Great Seal of Minnesota and has the role of certifying the authenticity of a wide variety of official documents, including proclamations and executive orders.

A main function of the office is the review, approval and filing of articles of incorporation and amendments for all businesses and nonprofit organizations conducting business in Minnesota. The Office of the Secretary of State also processes all notary public applications; serves as the state’s central filing system for lien information related to the Uniform Commercial Code; and administers Safe at Home, an address confidentiality program designed to assist Minnesotans who fear for their safety.


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