Vote now: Selecting our 2021 Priority Action Areas

Recommended reading and context on Priority Action Areas: Reflecting on 2020 Priority Action Areas

What are Priority Action Areas?

Priority Action Areas are places where the Code for America Network can have an outsized impact if we focus our collective power and energy on a specific project, resource, or topic area.

2021 Priority Action Area Selection Process

  • :white_check_mark: Complete: Phase 1: Sparking Ideas & Interest: December - January: Submit ideas for 2021 Priority Action Areas & vote on your favorites

  • :hourglass_flowing_sand: In progress: Phase 2: Narrow the Selections: End of January: Refine the submissions & vote among top ideas

  • :page_facing_up: Starting soon: Phase 3: Make a Selection: Early February: The National Advisory Council officially selects the 2021 Priority Action Areas, using each prior round of voting to guide the decision.

In addition to the selection process of new Priority Action Area(s) to focus on in 2021, NAC will be choosing 1-2 Priority Action Areas from 2020 to de-prioritize to mitigate capacity. Read more about capacity for Priority Action Area focus here.

Phase 2: Vote Now

Using the results from our discussion on 2021 Priority Action Areas, the Network Team has refined the most popular ideas to a list of five potential Priority Action Areas. The ideas that were excluded from this voting were either too broad to qualify as a Priority Action Area, or were not in the realm of being a project or resource that Brigades could replicate. We have reworded and combined some of these submissions for clarity’s sake, too.

Here are the top items. Please vote for your top choice for a 2021 Priority Action Area:

2021 Priority Action Areas
  • Housing: Make tenants rights information more accessible. So many states have laws and rights that very few people understand or are aware of.
  • Safety Net: Find ways to improve safety net services like LIHEAP, WIC, SNAP and TANF in each state.
  • Web accessibility: Let’s create a curriculum and guide for Brigade members and leaders to both use on our own projects and to teach others.
  • Safety net: Tools for the most marginalized to get and keep valid identification (supports access to benefits and voting rights).
  • Policing: Auditing police budgets and union contracts, or other policing projects in partnership with communities of color, policy experts, and municipalities.

0 voters


I think it’d be great to work on a project that makes it easier to people to obtain state issued identification.


Is it too late to convert this to a ranked choice poll?


Hm! Good question @wduffee. I’m not aware of whether we have the functionality within Discourse. Do you know of a tool/ way to do this? For this particular process, I’d say that you’re also welcome to add your comments / preferences directly here as a comment. The National Advisory Council will have the results of this poll + any other feedback you might have for next Tuesday’s meeting, when the final ones are selected. But if there’s also a way to incorporate Ranked Choice Voting to our future processes, I’m into it!

Hi @elb! Thank you for the quick response.

Seems like the way to do it in Discourse would be to create 5 “numbered choice” polls, one for each Action Area, with each poll having [1…5] as the choices. Then ask those voting to choose 1-5 for each poll. A bit of overhead and potential confusion since nothing would keep someone from just putting the same answer for all 5 Action Areas.

Thanks again for the response and I appreciate the invitation to post directly here with comments as well :slight_smile:

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FWIW, I would be thrilled to help lead the charge on building an a11y curriculum even if it doesn’t win the poll!


Safety Net: WIC, SNAP, TANF, LIHEAP, EITC, Unemployment benefits, and Head Start—applications are a great starting point, but making sure that folks understand what they’re eligible for, understanding the challenges states have with implementing these programs (in OK, SNAP applications are all still done by paper!), and making it easier for everyone in the process, including making sure that folks are actually getting the benefits they applied for, and it’s easy to renew when that time comes, would be really great.


Policing is so locally managed, it might be well paired to be addressed by brigades.


All of these look great! My one caveat would be on the tenants’ rights project. There are a lot of pandemic-related exceptions in place in 2021. This year might be an especially challenging year to provide clear information about rights.

FYI for future, this post shows how to allow multiple votes: Discourse Guide: Polls - Meta - Stonehearth Discourse

A prompt like: Mark all options you would be excited to show up for might work well for a future poll.

1 Like
  1. Policing-related projects are about strengthening local alliances and building trust, including with electeds and underserved communities. Excellent long term investment.
  2. Web accessibility. Why reinvent the wheel? Existing resources are great (like A quick one pager pointing them out will do more. Not a priority.
  3. Safety Net. Proofs of concept in EBT worked in California. It takes partnerships with state officials so brigades would need access at that level. State benefits staff may be in a mood to get help from volunteers since budgets are tight.
  4. Housing. Anyone can write tips and guidance into a document. This isn’t 2011. What could your brigade do that would keep or get one more family housed? And then another? That would change how your state and local government act on housing?