With the U.S. federal government careening from one crisis to the next, citizens are increasingly frustrated with the government’s inability to get things done.

We can’t solve this problem with software alone, but we can harness technology to educate and empower both citizens and lawmakers to make government more transparent or effective. The Apps for Working Government challenge seeks to highlight software applications that can help reduce partisan gridlock and increase legislative productivity at the federal, state, or local level.

Individuals, teams and organizations are encouraged to enter new or existing software solutions. These can include web, mobile or desktop apps in one of two categories: 

  • Educational tools: Apps that visualize or analyze data to illustrate the problem of partisan gridlock, legislative productivity (or lack thereof) and/or related consequences. This category can include apps that analyze and evaluate the polarization or productivity of Congress, state legislatures, local government, or individual lawmakers.
  • Solutions & action tools: Apps that citizens can use to communicate with legislators or mobilize other citizens, or tools legislators can use to advance collaboration. Submitters are required to explain how the app can be used to help reduce partisan gridlock and increase legislative productivity.

Check out the Suggestions and Data pages for ideas and join the discussion by sharing relevant data, existing software solutions, and solution ideas. Submit a software app you've already made or create something new!

Early Submission: Submit your app by May 1, 2013 at 5:00pm Eastern Time to get feedback. If your app is eligible, you'll receive tips on how you can improve it before the final deadline.


  • Participants: Individuals (at least age of majority where you reside); Teams; Organizations (up to 50 employees); Large Organization (>50 employees) eligible for recognition.
  • Countries: Global, except where prohibited by U.S. law.



  • Software Application: Existing or new apps that educate people about partisan gridlock or empower them to do something about it to help government work more effectively. Apps can be for the web, mobile or desktop.
  • Additional Requirements: Demonstration video; screenshots.

Hackathon Sponsors


$2,500 in prizes

Best New Applications (2)

Popular Choice Award - New Application

Honorable Mention

Devpost Achievements

Submitting to this hackathon could earn you:

How to enter

  1. Click the "Register For This Challenge" button at the top of the page and confirm your registration. This step ensures that you'll receive important challenge updates and also allows you to view the submission form. Before you start building your app, be sure to read the Official Rules.
  2. Create a working software app or submit an existing one that falls into either category (educational tools or solutions & action tools). Refer to the category definitions in the "About the Challenge" section.
  3. Complete all of the required fields in the submission form. 

Good luck!


Nick Judd

Nick Judd
Managing Editor, techPresident

Tom Lee

Tom Lee
Director of Sunlight Labs, Sunlight Foundation

Jonathan Miller

Jonathan Miller
Co-Founder, No Labels, and Former Kentucky State Treasurer

John Sides

John Sides
Co-founder & Contributor, The Monkey Cage, and Associate Professor of Political Science, George Washington University

Judging Criteria

  • Quality of the Idea
    Includes creativity and originality
  • Implementation of Idea & UX
    Includes how well the idea was executed by the developer as well as the overall design (graphics, typography, and visual aesthetic, etc.)
  • Potential Impact
    Includes potential impact on partisan gridlock and legislative productivity through education and/or citizen or lawmaker action or collaboration

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