Web-based voter registration app for the US

I came across an article from Wired [1] explaining that an open source web app for voter registration in the US had been developed and released in the US. Seems like something that should have happened years ago. In any event, it's a Ruby on Rails app that demands 1.9.2 of Ruby [2]. This looked to me like a great opportunity to learn something new and take 12.0 and Debian for another spin.

When I tried last night, I was immediately frustrated. But coming at it today brought some success; it's not a patch yet, but I will follow this post with build notes. If it becomes a patch, it'll need to be quick work. As the demo [3] suggests, it makes quick work out of the voter registration process.

[1] Wired Article:

[2] web app page:

[3] Demo:

Starting from TKL Core 12.0, here're my build notes:

[set hostname (/etc/hosts, /etc/hostname)]

apt-get update
apt-get install build-essential bison openssl \
     libreadline6 libreadline6-dev curl git-core \
     zlib1g zlib1g-dev libssl-dev libyaml-dev libsqlite3-0 \
     libsqlite3-dev sqlite3 libxml2-dev libxslt-dev \
     autoconf libc6-dev ncurses-dev libpq-dev
curl -L | bash -s stable --rails
gem install bundler
git clone git://
cd voter-registration
bundle install
rake db:migrage
rake db:seed

It can take a while to compile, I guess I could warn. This is a potential project for students on Raspis running wheezy, so I'm perseverating about compile time with 256m of ram. Feedback is appreciated - but this may be moot before anyone has time or interest in commenting.

Jason TEPOORTEN's picture

Is this the app from the OSDV?  I think they are building their voting platform on Ruby on Rails.

John Sebes's picture

Rick -

As Jason points out, OSDV has developed an open source voter registration application -- see -- that is similar in concept to the Obama campaigns OVR system, but with considerably more features.

However, nobody besides RockTheVote has deployed it, because RTV operates it on a ASP sort of basis, where other orgs can either (a) customize the RTV UI to have a completely different style of their own org, or (b) write their own web ui application, and call on a web services API for the RTV system to do the heavy lifting of data validation, PDF generation, reminder emails to users, transaction logging, and reporting.

Also relevant is which is derivative system that we've built for the state of Virginia to operate themselves at The current product system is a limited release, and a more full featured release we are in the process of staging and testing.

I think that you'll find the ASP/customization/API parts of Rocky (as we call it) to be interesting, and that you'll find the plethora of Virginia-specific stuff on the VVSP to be a great example of gov't systems need to satisfy all sorts of different requirements than 3rd party or NGO systems like Rocky.

-- John Sebes

rik's picture

Thanks for writing. This patch is different from the Obama Campaign's (which, iirc, did things with the registration data such as develop campaign contacts database - I may not remember correctly). This patch uses the Democratic Party software. I believe they were released nearly the same day.

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