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Recapping the 2022 Election Tech Debrief in Atlanta

The results of the 2022 midterm elections took many of us by surprise. A red wave was prevented, election deniers were defeated, and Democrats kept control of the Senate. Why and how did this happen? 

While many factors contributed to these wins, one key aspect was that progressive organizers – including the political tech community – quietly did the hard work behind the scenes to build the infrastructure and lay the groundwork required to defend and win. As a co-host of the 2022 Election Tech Debrief, we were excited to debrief and examine the crucial role of technology in this historic midterm outcome. 

A panel sharing how to effectively support voter access and protection.

Too often we rush to plan for the next campaign — and when we don’t stop to reflect, critical innovations and lessons get lost. The Debrief aimed to share, analyze, and apply our learnings, so that organizations, campaigns, and staffers up and down the ballot can effectively take our tech and tools to the next level in 2023 and beyond. 

Held in Atlanta in January 2023, the 2022 Debrief was modeled after our successful 2020 Debrief (virtual) and 2018 Debrief in Chicago. 312 political tech leaders from all across the nation — including CTOs, Digital Directors, Founders, Executive Directors, Data Scientists, Organizing Directors, Funders, and more — gathered for two days at the Loudermilk Center in Atlanta. 

Small group discussions on breaking down performance factors in swing districts.

We covered topics including:

  • Developing effective messages that counter disinformation
  • Breaking down performance factors in swing districts
  • Scaling relational organizing 
  • Producing quality data pipelines
  • Protecting the security of our progressive tech ecosystem 
  • Calibrating SMS & email for long-term success
  • Improving talent recruitment, retention, and training 
  • And much more.

Attendees debriefed through in-depth discussions, panels, small group conversations, lightning talks, and reportbacks around political tech’s role in the 2022 midterm elections. We also welcomed two keynotes to ground and inspire our community for the fight ahead. Cianti Stewart-Reid, Executive Director of Fair Fight Action, shared on building transformational power for the long-term. Rob Flaherty, the Biden for President campaign’s Digital Director, discussed the digital philosophy required to win and lead. 

Cianti Stewart-Reid offered lessons from Georgia on long-term organizing for transformational change.

After spending so long apart, the energy from gathering in-person was palpable. Connection was clearly the fuel behind our invigorating two days. We were thrilled to help bring together incredible colleagues, old friends, and new collaborators in the ecosystem — and we can’t wait to bring these learnings into the next cycle and beyond.

We will be capturing the insights from this Debrief in our upcoming 2022 Political Tech Landscape Report and biennial Investment Thesis. Keep an eye out for both in the coming months — sign up to our newsletter to hear about it first.

The 2022 Election Tech Debrief was co-hosted by Higher Ground Labs, Zinc Collective, Democratic National Committee, Stac Labs, Tech for Campaigns, Community Tech Alliance, New Media Ventures, Bluebonnet Data, Sister District, and The Movement Cooperative in partnership with Analyst Institute, Progress Georgia, OneOne Ventures, Investing In US, BallotReady, Bluem Ventures, and ActBlue

The Higher Ground Labs team was delighted to see everyone!

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