Delco Scrapping Voting Precincts; Getting Spooky Tracking Software — It was worth staying to the end of today’s (Dec. 6) nearly four-hour long budget hearing.
We learned that Delaware County Pa. has a plan to consolidate voting precincts and to contract for a year with ZenCity Technologies for $199,000.
The points were brought up by Joy Schwartz of Upper Darby who implored the county to do neither.
ZenCity uses artificial intelligence and is kind of spooky.
The county says the software service supports “community outreach engagement and data collection to support economic policy development and data-based decision-making.”
The real reason, however, appears to be to give council an excuse to ignore activist who show up at the public meetings. ZenCity’s website actually calls this a feature.
“Today, we know that most input comes from the same group of residents, and that reaching more voices and make meaning out of it all requires enormous effort and constant maintenance,” it says.
Here’s a better idea: Mingle with your constituents. That way you’ll know if the the squeaky wheels really need greasing.
It is likely that ZenCity will allow council to do what it wants regardless of what the citizens wish. How is the public going to know, after all, what the man behind the curtain really said?
Seriously, after last week’s Twitter revelations can one really trust a tech firm?
ZenCity is sold on Microsoft’s Azure Marketplace.
Also speaking was former public defender Earl Read who really ripped into former Tinicum police chief and present county detective Robert Lythgoe.
The video will soon be online here. Feel free to skip the first three-and-a-half hours.
In fairness, kudos to council for taking the time with the 41 budget contracts, amendments and purchases.
In other Delco news, the county has been featured on RealClearPennsylvania as the “America’s Ballot Harvesting Capital.”