Big Shoulders: Alex Niemczewski, CEO At BallotReady

| Adam J. Hecktman

Voting season is almost upon us.  The voting system is the cornerstone of our democracy.  It is not exaggeration to say that the entire democratic process pivots on citizens exercising their right to vote.  When you walk into the voting booth, you are signaling how you want affairs of the state or nation to be conducted, and it is a responsibility that should hold the highest levels of gravitas.  

However, let’s think about what really happens when you walk into the voting booth.  You typically come in with strong notions of who you will vote for the executive (President or state Governor).  You probably have a good idea on who will get your vote for Senate. Representative? Perhaps. From there, things get…iffy.  

Local judges?  Man, there are so many of them.  Intermediate appellate judge? Commissioner of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District?  Can you honestly say that you have researched all of those? Why not? Because it is really, really hard.  The information is scattered and who do you trust?

Fortunately, that is where BallotReady comes in.  I have used BallotReady myself in the last few elections.  I had never felt more civically engaged and informed than when I went into the voting booth knowing that I had my list of candidates that had been vetted by organizations that I trust.  And it wasn’t just the high-profile elections. BallotReady made it easy to vote informed on every candidate on my ballot.

BallotReady does the leg work (and yes, many times it is actual leg work) to aggregate information about candidates for you.  From their own websites and social media, from the press, and most importantly, from endorsers that give you insights into whether or not that candidate is one that you would trust on the issues you care about.  

BallotReady doesn’t stop with just the candidates (a herculean feat in and of itself).  It provides similar background on referenda on your ballot. All of the data is linked back to the original source, so if you feel the need to do some self-evaluation or study context, it is right there for you.   You can print your research and bring it into the voting booth with you or keep it on your phone and bring that along.

I had the honor of getting to know Alex Niemczewski when she first started working on BallotReady back in 2014.  Back then, she had four or five voting jurisdictions in her system. After bringing on her partners (Aviva Rosman and Sebastian Ellefson), they now have all 50 states and information all the way up and down the ballot.  Please join me as I chat with Alex on the vision and future of BallotReady.

Watch Adam’s chat with Alex live now on

Adam J. Hecktman

You may recognize Adam. He’s a regular on TV, you can hear him on the radio, he’s penned numerous articles and is the co-founder of the Chicago City Data Users Group. But some of Adam’s most important work is done behind the scenes in his role as Microsoft’s Director of Technology and Civic Engagement for Chicago. Tech giants, universities and government leaders turn to Adam for guidance on all matters technology, and he happily obliges, helping Chicago overcome challenges and capitalizing on new, exciting opportunities.