How an app developer helped Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez make history

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In the wake of the 2016 presidential election, app developer Leo Sussan was unhappy and looking for a way to become more politically active. So he volunteered for a long-shot congressional candidate, 29-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, in New York City.

Since he was a full-time employee at a real estate startup, Sussan offered his programming skills to the campaign during his off-hours. The app he created, Reach, reimagined the way volunteers found other sympathetic voters — and ultimately helped get Ocasio-Cortez elected.

Historically, political campaigns have reached voters through a process called “canvassing,” or making direct contact with people door-to-door. Apps typically facilitated this process by giving volunteers in the field an easy way to access a list of voters compiled by the Democratic Party. …

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