IVGID partners with FlashVote to improve transparency | SierraSun.com

IVGID partners with FlashVote to improve transparency

Josh Staab
jstaab@sierrasun.com

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — For those who have attended recent Incline Village General Improvement District meetings, it's possible they've heard the word "FlashVote" mentioned.

It's also possible not many in the room knew what "FlashVote" meant, besides perhaps the IVGID officials talking about it.

The district recently partnered with the third-party survey service to collect anonymous input in hopes of helping better understand the community it serves, said IVGID spokeswoman Kayla Anderson

"This is a step in the district trying to improve its transparency with its constituents, to gain an understanding about what is important to the community," she said.

FlashVote's mission is to "connect people with their governments in valuable new ways that are always fast, easy and fun," according to an automated email dispersed upon signing up for the online service.

FlashVote will occasionally contact registered users with civic tasks, such as completing brief surveys about government transparency, according to its website.

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For IVGID, surveys have included questions like "Which of these IVGID venues is most important to your summer experience in Incline Village/Crystal Bay?" and "How good is your local government at involving citizens in its decision making?"

After users complete the questions, they can view results, which the government agency also can see in real time.

"IVGID will begin to address some of those comments, concerns and issues in the community through the responses they're gaining from FlashVote," Anderson said. "We're definitely using the information to better communicate misinformation."

To encourage participation, users can earn "Civic Points" for taking each survey, which then can then be used "to brag to neighbors," according to FlashVote, or be redeemed for rewards.

For Incline/Crystal Bay residents, rewards come in the form of "IVGID Bucks" that are used for discounts and offerings from IVGID venues like the Recreation Center, golf courses and Diamond Peak, Anderson said.

FlashVote remains in beta testing while representatives continue to refine its performance.

Its co-founder, Incline Village resident Kevin Lyons, said security issues are not a concern.

"Privacy and security are central to the service," Lyons said. "Anonymity is key to receiving that honest feedback without repercussions."

As a courtesy to IVGID, Lyons agreed to pilot test FlashVote for free.

However, he noted governments do pay an annual fee, which is based on the amount services provided, as well as the number of residents a government serves.

Though IVGID is not currently being charged, Lyons said that may change at some point. What that fee may be, however, is unknown.

"We don't know what kind of service IVGID is going to want," Lyons said. "We're just focused on making the product work for IVGID. We'll discuss (fees) later."

As of Wednesday, the IVGID community on FlashVote had 950 members, according to the website.

Regionally, the town of Truckee and Truckee Tahoe Airport District are among communities also listed as having FlashVote accounts, according to the website.