IAmA civic hacker + former House staffer. Last year I created an app that mirrors Congress’s radio-frequency voting bells with push alerts. My new webapp CapitolBells.com let’s you crowd-lobby Congress by writing and upvoting positions on any bill...
I'm here in the Longworth cafeteria on Capitol Hill to answer your questions about Capitol Bells, Congress, computer games, or anything else. Verification photo.
Since launch last year, the Capitol Bells mobile app is now used by over half of the US House of Representatives to get vote alerts on their smartphones, whether they're out to lunch or sitting on the pot. iOS / Android
The goal of my new web app CapitolBells.com is to quantify our voices for those lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
Here’s how it works:
Search for a particular bill or keyword (try “HR 2356” or “climate”), vote bills up or down, and click the green plus button to write a “Motion.” Instead of sharing arcane bill text, Motions let you explain why you support or oppose a bill in your own words. If your friends agree, their votes are automatically added to your Motion and to the bill. Motions are ranked on the front page by hotness like on Reddit.
Here are a few examples:
Congressman John Garamendi wrote a Motion to urge a vote on immigration reform
This is a Motion to grant states the option to regulate marijuana like alcohol
Here’s Congressman Matt Cartwright’s Motion for a 6-month moratorium on Fannie Mae mortgage foreclosures
Think you can say it better? Disagree? Write your own Motion and then share it here in the comments, on social media, or on /r/uspolitics. Click on "My District” after weighing in to see how closely your Rep reps you personally and your district as a whole. Capitol Bells does this by comparing your positions to your Congressperson's official positions (votes and cosponsorships).
For more color, here's a segment from CBS news from last week.
My friend Brian’s been helping me code (we met through my last AMA), and he is around to answer questions too.
tl;dr CapitolBells.com is like Reddit for crowd-lobbying Congress.
Now please AMA!
UPDATE: Okay guys, I am freaking EXHAUSTED now. Thank you for making this a success. Thank you so much for all the interest, questions, tips, and bug reports! I'll continue to follow up with this tonight and tomorrow, and to all the pms. btw, right now the motion to limit campaign contributions is the trendingest Motion on Capitol Bells right now! The most votes are from Rep McDermott's district in WA, and he's already a cosponsor!