Transparency Watchdog Praises Council Votes Improving Open Data Law and Advancing Online Voter Registration

Watchdog group Reinvent Albany praised today's City Council votes in favor of bills that improve the Open Data Law and create a portal for city residents to register to vote online. All of the bills are expected to be signed by the mayor.

"Today, we're congratulating the City Council on two civic technology wins. The Council continues to be a global leader on open data and these two bills will make it much easier to track how well agencies are publishing their data for public use and help get data that's already been released via Freedom of Information (FOIL) request online. The bill facilitating online voter registration reduces barriers to voting and pushes the Board of Elections to adopt a commonsense convenience that voters elsewhere already have," said John Kaehny of Reinvent Albany, a watchdog group that advocates for using technology to improve government.

Int. No. 1701-2017 (Vacca) upgrades the NYC Open Data Law and most importantly requires the City to publish on the Open Data Portal information the status of data sets and makes it much easier for the public to track how well the City is complying with the Open Data Law.

1528-A-2017 (Vacca) requires agencies to list the names of data sets that have been requested via FOIL request. This will make it much easier for the public and the City to understand what data the public is requesting and should be published as open data.

Int. No. 508-2017 (Kallos) requires the NYC Campaign Finance Board (CFB) create a portal within 18 months to enable New Yorkers to register to vote electronically.  The CFB will deliver digitally signed voter registration forms to the City Board of Elections for processing.  Reinvent Albany believes government should use technology to improve service delivery and engage New Yorkers, and therefore supports this legislation.  We further believe digital signatures are the legal equivalent to handwritten signatures and the Board of Elections should process digitally signed forms.