Other Group

Reboot Democracy

Location:

New York, NY

Other Names:

#RebootDemocracy

Fiscal Sponsor:

Harmony Labs

Founded:

2016

Executive Director:

Emily Baum

Reboot Democracy is a fiscally sponsored project of Harmony Labs, an organization focused on contemporary media. The organization is focused on the intersection of democracy and technological innovation and hosts informational and networking events around the country. It also hosts an accelerator program that provides funding and mentorship to people and companies focused on emerging technology as applied to elections and democracy. [1] [2] [3]

Founding and History

Reboot Democracy was formed in 2016 as a “hackathon” where tech workers from Silicon Valley gathered to develop ideas to address the “problems” of democracy. Since then, the organization has continued to host events that seek to increase the use of technology in politics. [4]

The organization was largely inactive during the COVID-19 pandemic, with no blog posts since January of 2019, and no events between September 2019 and April 2022. [5]

Finances

Reboot Democracy is fiscally sponsored by Harmony Labs, meaning that the organization does not have public tax filings. In its own tax filings, Harmony Labs does not disclose how much funding is allocated towards Reboot Democracy. [6]

Policies and Projects

Reboot Democracy is focused on facilitating technological innovations that are supposed to “strengthen democracy,” though the organization does not define the term. It states that the “system is broken” and that citizens feel alienated, but it does not propose concrete changes, such as changes to voting security, or ballot access, nor does it offer specific details when soliciting proposals. [7] [8]

Accelerator Program

Reboot Democracy solicits proposals for its accelerator program. The program is focused on funding emerging technology that has the potential to “strengthen democracy” though what the means is never defined. The program provides funding, mentorship, and education programs for participants. It is not clear if any projects and proposals have been accepted or what program participants have achieved. [9]

Events

Reboot Democracy has held a number of events since its founding in 2016. The first was a “hackathon” focused on using technology to increase citizen education and political participation, hosted in December 2016. The event states that it was nonpartisan, however, at the follow-up event in January 2017 one of the event speakers was Jacky Chang, who had worked on the Hillary for America campaign. [10]

Other events have included a focus on networking, citizen engagement, political information dissemination, and how technological change was affecting democracy and elections. In 2018, the organization hosted an event focused on “Big Tech” and declared that the most democratic future would be one in which “we … seize the means of computation and distribute it to everyone.” [11]

After a period of over two years of seeming inactivity, the organization hosted an online meeting in April of 2022 for attendees to update others on projects they are working on related to democracy and technology. [12]

Leadership

Emily Baum is the executive director of Reboot Democracy. She is an adjunct professor at the NYU Stern School of Business and leads the technology investments portfolio at the NYU Innovation Venture Fund hosted by the Entrepreneurial Institute at New York University. [13] [14]

Baum has contributed small amounts of money to the left-of-center PAC ActBlue since 2016. [15]

References

  1. “Reboot Democracy.” Reboot Democracy. Accessed May 13, 2022. https://www.rebootdem.com. ^
  2. “Events.” Reboot Democracy. Accessed May 16, 2022. https://www.rebootdem.com/events. ^
  3. “Accelerator.” Reboot Democracy. Accessed May 16, 2022. https://www.rebootdem.com/accelerator. ^
  4. “Reboot Democracy.” Reboot Democracy. Accessed May 13, 2022. https://www.rebootdem.com. ^
  5. “Events.” Reboot Democracy. Accessed May 16, 2022. https://www.rebootdem.com/events. ^
  6. Harmony Labs, Return of an Organization Exempt From Income Tax (Form 990), 2019. ^
  7. “Reboot Democracy.” Reboot Democracy. Accessed May 13, 2022. https://www.rebootdem.com. ^
  8. “Accelerator.” Reboot Democracy. Accessed May 16, 2022. https://www.rebootdem.com/accelerator. ^
  9.  “Accelerator.” Reboot Democracy. Accessed May 16, 2022. https://www.rebootdem.com/accelerator. ^
  10. “Events.” Reboot Democracy. Accessed May 16, 2022. https://www.rebootdem.com/events. ^
  11. “Events.” Reboot Democracy. Accessed May 16, 2022. https://www.rebootdem.com/events. ^
  12. “Events.” Reboot Democracy. Accessed May 16, 2022. https://www.rebootdem.com/events. ^
  13. “Team.” Reboot Democracy. Accessed May 16, 2022. https://www.rebootdem.com/team. ^
  14. “Emily Fallon Baum.” LinkedIn. Accessed May 16, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/in/efbaum/. ^
  15. “Browse Individual Contributions: Emily Baum.” FEC.gov. Accessed May 16, 2022. https://www.fec.gov/data/receipts/individual-contributions/?contributor_name=Emily+Baum&min_date=01%2F01%2F2000&max_date=12%2F31%2F2022&contributor_state=NY. ^
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Reboot Democracy

311 W. 43rd Street, 12th Floor
New York, NY