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Presidential Debates Can’t Hack It? ‘Hack the Debate’ Instead


Donald Trump, right, and Sen. Ted Cruz, left, are both running for president. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Donald Trump, right, and Sen. Ted Cruz, left, are both running for president. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Think the presidential debates can’t hack it when it comes to informing the electorate? Well now you can turn the tables and “hack the debate .”  

Independent Journal is teaming up with Georgetown University this weekend for the first ever hackathon aimed at improving presidential debates. On Sunday, the event will bring together techies, project managers, politicians, developers and more to develop websites, apps or whatever else they can think up to boost millennial engagement in the debates. In addition to gettings some IJ Beats headphones, the winning projects will also be featured in the ABC News/IJ Review Republican debate on Feb. 6 in New Hampshire.  

“This is a high impact hack-a-thon,” IJ spokesman Matt Manda wrote in an email to HOH. He explained the projects will be judged by four categories: directness, feasibility, receptiveness and originality.  

The panel of judges assessing the projects include Katie Harbath, director of Facebook’s public policy division; Peter Cherukuri, executive vice president of advertising and business development at Politico, and Robin Sproul, Washington bureau chief for ABC News.  

Manda said Thursday that nearly 100 “hackers” have signed up to compete so far. The event will also feature discussions with panelists from both parties’ national committees, Google, Twitter and USA Today’s politics team.  

“We want to show off those products and that new and innovative approaches to the debates ultimately help bring more Americans into the political process — especially since we’ve seen so many tech developments in our everyday lives,” Manda wrote. “We’re really excited to see what apps and products are thought of and developed, and ultimately showing off the best (maybe more than one!) at the debate.”  

Registration for the hack-a-thon is free and will remain open until the event starts at 8:45 a.m. Sunday.  

Related: Hoyer, McCarthy Host 2nd Congressional Hackathon Congress Is for Hackers See photos, follies, HOH Hits and Misses and more at Roll Call’s new video site. Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.

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