What is POPVOX and why do we need it?
POPVOX was developed as a civic engagement resource to connect the citizens and the government, providing a platform that combines legislative data with personal reactions, delivering the users’ opinions to governmental officials on policies.
Their Mission Statement states:
To connect people and government, empower effective participation, and create a transparent record that influences policy-making and fosters accountable, responsive governing.
How do they achieve this?
- POPVOX starts with public data – every bill that is introduced in Congress and select regulations that are open for official public comment.
- Advocacy groups, organizations and companies create a profile and register their positions endorsing or opposing bills or regulations.
- Individuals weigh in and share with friends. Comments are delivered to legislators or federal agencies and are aggregated and displayed publicly on POPVOX.
- POPVOX provides a groundbreaking independent metric for advocacy and a public, searchable record of advocacy.
The Horse Fund signed up when POPVOX launched in 2010 and instantly fell in love with it. Especially enamoured was our founding President, Vivian Farrell.
I started off lobbying lawmakers in person in State capitols as well as in Washington D.C. , states Farrell.
I like interacting with people a lot, and much prefer meeting with them in person. I got cut off from all that when we got so big and started hiring lobbyists, and it’s at that time I began feeling “degrees of separation” from phoning and emailing only.
I also wanted “guaranteed engagement” — I wanted to know that our constituents were reaching the right people and the right people were getting their message. How are you going to effect any kind of change when you feel uncertain about something as critical as that? Communication is absolutely everything.
Then along came POPVOX, and it was an answer to a prayer.
Mrs. Farrell contacted POPVOX co-founder Rachna Choudry asking for some personal input on “Why POPVOX?”
Here’s what Ms. Choudry wrote:
The key is sharing a personal story about why the issue is important to you or your community. It’s easy to do that in-person, of course, but sometimes it’s more challenging on the phone.
Unlike a petition site, POPVOX allows you to write a personal letter to your lawmaker about a specific issue — but enables you to share that letter with others to inspire further action. It’s a record of your engagement on the issue, and you can then link to it with your friends or on social media.
POPVOX is also integrated with the House Democrats’ intranet system, DemCom, so not only does your letter get delivered to the appropriate Congressional office, but it is also available for staffers to read in their intranet system. (We don’t have that integration with the House Republicans because they don’t have a similar system.)
Personal stories and constituent opinions can directly impact how elected leaders govern. POPVOX aggregates, verifies, sorts, and counts opinions and delivers input to lawmakers in a transparent, structured format.
Serving individuals, legislators, organizations and corporations, POPVOX is akin to a “Legislative LinkedIn” — bringing transparency, efficiency, and accountability to policymaking.
Anyone can write to Congress. Lawmakers only want to hear from constituents, people who live in their district or state. POPVOX verifies that you’re a real person and an actual constituent, and guarantees delivery of your message . . . . a verified constituent is hard to ignore.
POPVOX. “Giving you a voice on issues that impact your world.”
“The Future of Political Engagement is Here (And It’s Called POPVOX)“; by Sarah McKinney; FORBES.com; February 1, 2014.
Featured Image: Rachna Choudhry and Marci Harris. Source: Forbes.com.