And so it was, Civic Hacking was born in 1994 – E-Democracy’s 20th Anniversary

Minnesota E-Democracy Project, 1994 Archive

And so it was, two decades ago that a rag tag group of volunteers in Minnesota created:

  • The world’s first election information website
  • An online candidate debate – that actually worked and generated news based on the substance involved
  • The volunteer “bit bucket brigade” live re-typed election results from the state mainframe green screen on the web via a modem connected portable Mac
  • A real-name based online civic discussion space called MN-Politics that also had a two post a day volume limit (a decade before Facebook discovered the power of real-names and Twitter tried out another kind of volume constraint)
  • A “website” universally accessible via multiple technologies – web, gopher, ftp, even email retrieval – with more hits on Gopher than the web
  • A buzz that generated global media coverage and speaking invitations from around the world
  • An authentically citizen-centric approach to online engagement that moved the city-wide online townhall and then the neighborhood community life forum
  • In today’s buzzwords we were the world’s first civic hacking project combining passionate citizens, technology skills and tools, and sourcing and blending data from multiple sources (candidates via diskette, media via email, government via hand retyping, other non-profit content via attached files, etc.)
  • In fact, the 1994 site may still be the most comprehensive election information website with the content ALL aggregated in one place. By 1996, the political and media players all had their own websites and then we added the media partnership concept. (As powerful groups figured out their interests online, their willingness to collaborate beyond joint marketing declined.)
  • Speaking of open data, we were one of the first sites in 1996 to create searchable web-access to campaign contribution data and had the most sophisticated features at the time

We are gearing up for a year of celebration and reflective lesson sharing and some sort of official announcement.

For now, if you’d like to thank us for our work over the years, your donation could not be more timely and appreciated! Add a memo about the 20th anniversary.


MINNESOTA E-DEMOCRACY 1994    UPDATE #1  – August 1, 1994
Minnesota Campaign and Election Information on the Internet!

1. Draft Project Description
2. E-Democracy Gathering 8/4/94
3. E-Democracy Draft Timeline
4. Working Groups – Please Volunteer!
5. Campaign Contacts and E-Mail Volunteers

Minnesota E-Democracy Project Description  – DRAFT –

Minnesota E-Democracy 1994 is a non-partisan effort to provide the
public with greater access to campaign and election information in
electronic form.  This volunteer effort is working to help candidates
place their position papers and other information on the Internet.
Information, knowledge, and connectivity are key ingredients in our
democracy.  This effort may demonstrate how electronic communication
can be a positive contribution as well as a challenge in our democracy.

Minnesota E-Democracy will focus on the Governor and U.S. Senate races.
However, it will also create an information infrastructure that will
allow campaigns and civic and political organizations at all levels to
distribute information electronically to a wide public audience.  The
two primary access methods to the campaign information will be through a gopher/web
Internet server being established at the Twin Cities Free-net and a new
Minnesota Politics and Public Policy e-mail discussion list (MN-Politics).

For more information contact:
Steven Clift - clif…

1. Minnesota E-Democracy Meeting:

7:30 p.m., Thursday, August 4
3454 Fremont Ave S., Minneapolis
(Corner of 35th and Fremont – South of Uptown 2 blocks east of

This will be an informal gathering that will give those interested in this
effort a chance to meet and discuss ideas about the E-Democracy

You are welcome to stop by any time between 7:30 and 9:00 p.m..

Around 8:00 p.m. we will go through a short agenda, including an
overview of the effort, working group organization, and a chance for
everyone to tell why they are interested in the project or what efforts
they plan to focus on.  If you cannot attend, please feel free to e-mail
me a short note

that I can read to those in attendance. ** Please let me know if you
plan to attend through e-mail or by telephone by Wednesday, August 3 at 5:00

Thanks again for all your interest!
Steven Clift

2. E-Democracy DRAFT Timeline
As of 8/1/94:

August 1 – 24
* Form E-Democracy Working Groups
* Set-up Minnesota Politics and Public Policy E-List (MN-Politics)
* Set-up E-Democracy Internet Server
* Strengthen information links with U.S. Senate and Governor
* Position papers – scan, obtain on disk – prepare for server

August 25 – September 13 – Demonstration Phase
* Launch server – place collected documents on server
* Begin flow of campaign information through campaign volunteers
* Publicize MN-Politics e-list and E-Democracy server electronically
* Build links with other voter education efforts and press efforts
* September 13 – DFL and IR Primary Election

September 14 – 25
* Evaluate demonstration phase
* Determine scope of general election effort
* Build channels for information contributions by other candidates
civic and political groups

September 26 – November 8 – General Election Phase
* Access: Links to server from other Internet sites and commercial
services have been established
* Build broader public awareness through media (don’t oversell)
* Materials developed to assist public in obtaining on-line campaign

* Other candidate centered IT options explored (E-mail, Supporter
* Etc.

3. E-DEMOCRACY WORKING GROUPS (Non-Partisan/Non-Candidate Area)

NOTE:  As of 8/1/94 over 20 people have offered to volunteer with this
effort in some way or another.  The break down of work groups is not set
in stone.  What tasks are we missing?  What would you like to
contribute?  What working group would you like to work with or create?

This is an action oriented effort and we are not attempting to build an
organization.  Our timeline is very tight, so individual initiative and
action will be key to achieving success.  Please send me a note
(clif… saying which working group you would like to
help out with or which task you will do.  Or  describe your general
interests in this effort and I’ll attempt to suggest a task that would
aid the overall effort.

E-DEMOCRACY WORKING GROUPS (Non-Partisan/Non-Candidate Area)
You may be a volunteer with a specific campaign and be on a working

E-Democracy Campaign Information Server
* Establish server on Internet/Twin Cities Free-Net – technical
* Text – scan text of collected position papers
* Organize documents – collect future materials from MN-Politics for
* Help train campaign volunteers to promote continual flow of

Scott Fritche - fri…
Doug Hassman - dhas…

Campaign Relations and Civic Outreach
* Explain effort to campaigns and assist involvement
* Secure initial position papers and future campaign information
* Help link “E-mail Campaign Volunteers” with E-Democracy effort
* Obtain expanded election content from civic and political

Steven Clift - clif…
Stefanie Otterson - stef…

Access and Publicity
* Publicize E-Democracy widely – press, Internet, libraries, etc.
* Promote links to server at other Internet sites and commercial
* Develop access links at libraries and tip sheets to help public
find info


Minnesota Politics and Public Policy E-mail Forum – MN-Politics@MR.Net
* List owner duties – subscription/signoff information, etc.
* Publicize list
* Offer Guidance to unmoderated list

List Manager:
Mick Souder - maso…

4. E-Democracy Governor and U.S. Senate Campaign Contacts

Note: Where no campaign contact or EMV information appears,I have not
been in contact with that campaign as of 8/1/94.  Efforts will be made
to acquire the position papers of all candidates, however during the
demonstration phase (primary) it is possible that not all candidate
information will become available in a timely manner.  Independant and
minor party candidates are also being contacted, but do not face a
primary.  Materials collected from non-primary candidates may be placed
on the E-Democracy Server before the primary, but the timeline to
obtain those postings will be focused on the general election phase.

Governor/Lieutenant Governor Candidates
E-Democracy E-Mail Volunteers (EMV)
Campaign Office Contacts/Telephone/Fax

 Democractic-Farmer-Labor Party Primary

 * Tony Bouza and Kim Stokes
P.O. Box 19454
Minneapolis, MN 55419
Telephone/Fax: (612)922-3901

   Campaign Contact:
EMV: Erik Thorsell - hey…

* Mike Hatch and Bob Schmitz
P.O. Box 583094
Minneapolis, MN 55458-3094
Telephone/Fax: (612)349-6880/341-9463

   Campaign Contact: MT Johnson

 * John Marty and Nancy Larson
2161 University Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55114
Telephone/Fax: (612)644-5775/644-4131

Campaign Contact: Tim Bartz - tba…

* Richard Van Bergen and Glenn Mesaros
2824 Gabler Ave SE
Buffalo, MN 55313
Telephone: (612)477-4545

   Campaign Contact:

Independent-Republican Party Primary

 * Arne Carlson and Joanne Benson
Suite 180 South
1821 University Avenue West
Telephone/Fax: (612)646-3008/646-3018

Campaign Contact: Paul Kohls
EMV: Matt Hughes - hug…

 * Allen Quist and Doug McFarland
6600 Cahill Ave. E.
Inver Grove Heights, MN 55076
Telephone/Fax: (612)457-2319/451-2826

Campaign Contact:
EMV: Tom Hendrikus van Oosterom - thvo…

(Minor party and independent candidates are not in the primary.)

 Grassroots Party

* Will Shetterly and Tim Davis
Box 7253
Minneapolis, MN 55407
Telephone/Fax: (612)721-1209

   Campaign Contact:

Libertarian Party

 * Eric Olson and Mike Strand
Libertarian Party of Minnesota
P.O. Box 580774
Minneapolis, MN  55458-0774
Telephone/Fax: (612)223-0995/874-6803

   Campaign Contact: Jack Stecher
EMV: Jack Stecher - ste…

United State Senate Candidates (Primary September 13)

Democractic-Farmer-Labor Party Primary

 * Tom Foley
201 East Hennepin Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55414
Telephone/Fax: (612)331-2380/331-2587

   Campaign Contact: Scott Diener
EMV: Alberto Monserrate - albe…

* Dick Franson
P.O. Box 6449
Minneapolis, MN 55406
Telephone/Fax: (612)729-6752

 * Buford Johnson
P.O. Box 1069
Brainerd, MN 56401
Telephone: (800)450-3975

* Gary Legare
RR 1 Box 40
Layfayette, MN 56054
Telephone: (507)228-8521

 * Leonard Richards
5000 Green Lane
P.O. Box 11859
St. Paul, MN 55111-0859

 * Ann Wynia
1916 University Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55104
Telephone/Fax: (612)646-6510/646-6944

Campaign Contact: Liem Le - 73764…
EMV: Brett Rabe - br…

 Independent-Republican Party Primary

 * Joanell Dyrstad
8100 Penn Avenue South
Bloomington, MN
Telephone/Fax: (612)884-4552/884-4620

   Campaign Contact: Jack Uldrich

 * Rod Grams
2013 2nd Ave. B3
P.O. Box 1029
Anoka, MN 55303
Telephone/Fax: (612)422-8570/422-0561

   Campaign Contact: Mike Amery
EMV: Scott Bertilson - sc…

 * Harold Stassen
310 Salem Church Rd.
Sunfish Lake, MN 55118
Telephone: (612)457-5861

 * John Zeleniak
5075 Johnson St. NE
Columbia Heights, MN 55421

(Minor party and independent candidates are not in the primary.)

 Grassroots Party

 * Candice Sjostrom
90 Lakeview
Tonka Bay, MN 55331
Telephone: (612)474-3996


* Dean Barkley
P.O. Box 125
Hamel, MN 55430
Telephone: (612)479-1200

   Campaign Contact:

Natural Law Party

 * Stephen Johnson
6200 Shingle Creek Parkway Suite 405-2
Minneapolis, MN 55430
Telephone: (612)224-8235

Socialist Workers Party

 * Marea Himelgrin
2490 University Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55430
Telephone: (612)645-1674

And for historical purposes our announcements from 1996 when we added media partnerships …

Minnesota E-Democracy -  <-New Address
October 12, 1996    MN-DEMOCRACY – 900 Strong!   Please Forward
MN-DEMOCRACY Update – Table of Contents
1.  Minnesota Town Hall 1996 Announcement
2.  Minnesota E-Democracy Media Advisory, Media Event Monday!
3.  Minnesota Town Hall 1996 Quick Bytes

Well, here we go!  The Minnesota Town Hall 1996 is now open.  Subscribers
to MN-DEMOCRACY are the our key path to reaching out to Minnesotans one
at a time.  We will post the “Quick Byte” a second time. Please pass it on to
at least 5 people you think would be interested in this election’s online
events and information resources.

Thank you,
Minnesota E-Democracy Board

P.S. Instructions on how to subscribe/unsubscribe from MN-DEMOCRACY are
at the bottom of all posts to this list.
1.  Minnesota Town Hall 1996 Annoucement:


Minnesota Town Hall 1996


Minnesota Town Hall 1996, produced by MN E-Democracy, is now open on the
World Wide Web at

Minnesota Town Hall is an online place for citizens to learn about and
discuss candidates and issues affecting this  year’s Minnesota election.
Its premiere interactive opportunity comes  October 22 – 29, when
candidates for U.S. Senate, including Senator Paul  Wellstone and Rudy
Boschwitz, engage in an electronic debate (e-debate).

Minnesota Town Hall was created by a group of  public and private
organizations including Minnesota E-Democracy, Star
Tribune/Cowles Media Foundation, Cafe Utne, Channel 4000 (WCCO Online),
the League of Women Voters of MN, Minnesota Public Radio,  Minnesota
Regional Network, The Pioneer Planet, The River Project, The Star Tribune
Online, and the Twin Cities Free-Net.

Minnesota Town Hall 1996 is built on the premise that civic institutions
must exist to provide citizens the liberty to express their views and
concerns in the political community to which they belong.

This fall’s marquee event will be the E-Debate between the candidates
running for the United States Senate.  This will take place from October
22nd to October 29th and will be linked to a number of debates and events
produced by our collaborators and taking place in other mediums such as
radio and television.

So far Senator Paul Wellstone (DFL), former Senator Rudy Boschwitz (R),
Dean Barkley (Reform Party), Tim Davis (Grassroots Party), and Ray
Carlson (Libertarian Party) have agreed to participate.

This race may point toward the direction Congress will take in coming
years.  That the  Republican Senatorial  Campaign  Committee has targeted
the contest as a top priority indicates the significance of the race.
The e-debate is certain to be a political event that will elicit considerable
energy and substantive discourse.

You can participate by joining MN-POLITICS, an e-mail public discussion
forum hosted by MN E-Democracy, or by joining one of several web based
conferences hosted by The Star Tribune Online, WCCO’s Channel 4000, and
Cafe Utne.  More information is available on the web at

We hope to use the global scope of the Internet to focus the
attention of not only the citizenry of Minnesota but also of interested
parties across the nation and world on this uniquely interesting and
significant race.

In this way we hope not only to highlight the political contest and
issues involved but also the power of the Internet as a tool to enhance
the  democratic process locally and across the world by allowing more
people to participate.

Please join us.

We can be reached at:

E-Mail:        e-dem…
or ed…
Tel:        612-786-5586


Minnesota Town Hall 1996 has been produced by Minnesota Electronic
Democracy, a 501.c.3 with a mission to enhance the democratic process
through the use of computer networks.  We have received generous financial
support from the Star Tribune/Cowles Media Foundation.  We have also
enjoyed tremendous support from our collaborators in creating Minnesota
Town Hall 1996.  These include Cafe Utne, Channel 4000 (WCCO Online), the
League of Women Voters of MN, Minnesota Public Radio, Minnesota Regional
Network, The Pioneer Planet, The River Project, The Star Tribune Online,
and the Twin Cities Freenet.

2.  Minnesota Town Hall and Campaign Finance Database Media Advisory:
October 10, 1996

For More Information Contact:
Sheldon Mains, Executive Director
E-Mail: sh…  Phone: 612/729-4328
G. Scott Aikens, Town Hall Coordinator
E-Mail: aik…  Phone: 612/786-5586
Minnesota E-Democracy Board of Directors
E-mail:  E-Dem…
Minnesota E-Democracy will hold a media and public briefing, demonstration
and training session of the Minnesota Town Hall 1996 at:

3:00 PM, Monday, October 14, 1996
Minneapolis Telecommunications Network
Studio A and Cyberspace
125 Southeast Main Street
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55414
(directions attached)

Members of the press and the general public are invited.

Minnesota E-Democracy will announce and demonstrate its Minnesota Town Hall
1996  web site.  Minnesota Town Hall 1996 is designed to be a place for
citizens to be part of the political action.  It includes:

e       U.S. Senate Candidate online E-Debate (likely the only one in the
e       The premier online citizen discussion forum in Minnesota –
e       Links to election, candidate and political information, and
e       A searchable database of the Federal Election Commission campaign
contributions reports.

There will be a short presentation followed by a question period. After
the presentation, the fifteen computers in MTN’s Cyberspace will be
available until six o’clock PM for anyone interested in trying the Town
Hall or the campaign finance database.

Minnesota Town Hall 1996 is a place on the Internet created by Minnesota
E-Democracy.  Organizations involved in the development of Minnesota Town
Hall 1996 include the Star Tribune/Cowles Media Foundation, Cafe Utne,
Channel 4000 (WCCO Online), the League of Women Voters of MN, Minnesota
Public Radio, the Pioneer Press, Minnesota Regional Network, MTN/The River
Project, The Star Tribune Online, and the Twin Cities Free-Net.

Minnesota E-Democracy is a non-partisan citizen-based organization whose
mission is to improve participation in democracy in Minnesota through the
use of information networks.  It seeks to increase citizen participation in
elections and public discourse through the use of electronic communications
technologies.  Minnesota E-Democracy is a Minnesota nonprofit corporation.

–# # #–


Minneapolis Telecommunications Network is on the second floor of the west
building of the St. Anthony Main complex on the east side of the
Mississippi River across from downtown Minneapolis (in the same building as
the St. Anthony Main United Artists Movie Theater).

>From downtown Minneapolis:
Take the Third Avenue bridge across the Mississippi, turn right at Second
Street Southeast, and find a place to park. MTN is down the driveway at the
end of Second Avenue SE.

>From Saint Paul:
Exit I-94 at the Huron Avenue/University of Minnesota exit.  Go west on 4th
Street SE to 2nd Avenue SE.  Turn left on 2nd Street, cross University
Avenue and park.  MTN is straight ahead, down the driveway across Second
Street SE.

>From I-35W:
Exit at University Avenue SE/4th Street SE Exit.  Take 4th Street SE west
to 2nd Avenue SE.  Turn left on 2nd Street, cross University Avenue and
park.  MTN is straight ahead, down the driveway across Second Street SE.
3.  Minnesota Town Hall 1996 Quick Bytes:

===================================================================                                                                 *
Minnesota Town Hall Quick Bytes  -
*                                                                 *

Minnesota Town Hall 1996 on the World-Wide-Web:
The complete source for online Minnesota election information
including the U.S. Senate E-Debate and Campaign Finance Database

WWW Address:

MN-POLITICS E-mail Forum:
Participate in Citizen Discussions and the U.S. Senate E-Debate
Send an e-mail message to:  Majordomo@MR.Net
In the text area, write:  subscribe mn-politics

Follow Citizen Discussions and the U.S. E-Debate (Digest Version)
Send an e-mail message to:  Majordomo@MR.Net
In the text area, write:  subscribe mn-politics-digest

Follow just the U.S. Senate E-Debate:
Send an e-mail message to:  Majordomo@MR.Net
In the text area, write:  subscribe mn-debate

Join Minnesota E-Democracy’s Announcement E-mail List:
Important annoucements – only up to four a month.
Send an e-mail message to:  Majo…
In the text area, write:  subscribe mn-democracy

Contact the Minnesota E-Democracy Board:
E-mail:  e-dem…
Address:  718 East 24th Street, Minneapolis, MN 55406
Telephone:  612-729-4328

*                                                                 *
Minnesota Town Hall Quick Bytes  -
Join Minnesota E-Democracy!   Please forward this message to others.
E-mail to:  Majo…
Text area:  subscribe mn-democracy
To sign off, write:  unsubscribe mn-democracy  – instead.

Steven L. Clift - cl…
Minneapolis, Minnesota   –   612-824-3747


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