Pasadena Scientist Sets Her Sights on Fighting Fake News with Creation of Political App

Published : Tuesday, September 26, 2017 | 5:34 AM

A hydrogeologist from Pasadena has set aside her scientific work and turned her sights on the world of politics by developing an app that aims to simplify the voting process for voters by giving them concise, relevant and unbiased information on elections and candidates.

Called Assmbli, the app is now being readied by developer Tara Rolfe, with the aim of a launch in advance of the 2018 mid-term elections.

The goal of the Assmbli app is to simplify the political world so that potential voters can get unbiased information, quickly and easily, so “they can make informed decisions,” said Rolfe.

“Assmbli is trying to break down the wall between those that are political and those who aren’t necessarily political but want to get their voice heard, on their time, simply and easily by putting all the relevant information in one app,” said Rolfe.

Rolfe said her app would prove useful especially now that voters are bombarded with “fake” and spun news.

Rolfe said Assmbli will be sourcing its data from various government websites.

“I will be grabbing all data from all the .gov sites and put it all in an app format where the user can just scroll through the information,” she said.

Rolfe said that at the moment, she is writing the code for Assmbli herself. She is also researching and compiling content as well as developing the company’s strategy.

According to Rolfe, the Assmbli app once active, will provide potential voters with location-relevant information about their government such as information on how and where to register and vote, notifications for when deadlines are approaching, who the candidates are and what else is on the ballot, what their elected representatives are up to, how to contact them, and how to navigate voter ID laws and laws protecting their right to cast a vote.

At present, Assmbli in running a campaign on to raise funds to complete the Android and IOS apps in time for the critical mid-term election cycle in early 2018.

Assmbli says it needs to raise $65k to fund the completion of the Assmbli app. The Kickstarter campaign ends on October 12, 2017.

In an interview with Pasadena Now, Rolfe said she took up geology and environmental science at Occidental College in Los Angeles, CA to learn the science behind passionate pleas for political change. After graduating in 2002, she began a career as a consultant in water resources in Southern California for Wildermuth Environmental, Inc. Rolfe stayed with Wildermuth for almost 11 years before leaving to start on Assmbli.

“I was in water resources, which is a big topic here in Southern California and the Southwest in general. I love to provide the science to decision makers but I got to a point that the day-to-day just become a job. So I wanted to get back to where I feel that I am making something happen,” she said.

“My life collided with the political landscape of the moment where I was in Pasadena and was wondering what to do with my career. So I’m taking a break from hydrogeology, i don’t hate it.

I’m taking a break and see if I could make this happen,” Rolfe added.

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