Clerk Orr Among Knight News Challenge Winners

July 22, 2015
Press Release

Team of experts to develop new resources for 2016 elections nationwide

Elections offices throughout the country will have new and better ways to serve voters in 2016, thanks to a partnership that brings elections officials from Cook County, Hillsborough County, Florida, and Inyo County, California, together with elections experts specializing in technology and design.

With $400,000 in support announced today from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation as part of its Knight News Challenge on Elections, the group will develop the Civic Engagement Toolkit for Local Elections Officials, an online clearinghouse of tested resources and communication tools, along with step-by-step instructions, that any election official can use for the 2016 General Election and beyond.

“Director of Elections Noah Praetz and I are honored to be a part of this collaborative effort among top election officials to share best practices and develop tools that can be used by election administrators nationwide,” Orr said. “The goal is to create tools that engage voters in ways that are meaningful, convenient and measurable.”

John Bracken, Knight Foundation vice president for media innovation, said, "The toolkit will make civic information more accessible and allow people to better connect with their local governments to help ensure that they are aware of what is taking place in their names."

The Toolkit team also includes California’s Inyo County Clerk Kammi Foote and County Administrator Kevin Carunchio; Florida’s Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections Craig Latimer and Director of Communications Gerri Kramer; Whitney May and Tiana Epps-Johnson, of the Center for Technology and Civic Life; and Whitney Quesenbery and Drew Davies, of the Center for Civic Design.

The group came together in response to the Knight News Challenge on Elections, which is funding breakthrough ideas that better inform voters and increase civic participation before, during and after elections. Twenty-two ideas were announced as Knight News Challenge winners on Wednesday, receiving $3.2 million in total awards.

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit