IAmA former House staffer who hacked the US Capitol's radio-frequency alert system to track votes in Congress. My new app lets us identify new political candidates and crowd-lobby Congress on any issue, from increasing NASA funding to legalizing w...
As a House staffer answering phones during the great SOPA blackout, I was inspired by the way mass participation in our democracy trumped the cable and entertainment industries' hundreds of millions of dollars and armies of lobbyists. I became obsessed with turning this rare civic action into an everyday occurrence. Ever since leaving Capitol Hill, I’ve been building apps to make democracy more accessible.
A few weeks ago Alex Ebert (aka Edward Sharpe) and I encouraged Reddit to hack democracy by trying out several civic engagement apps. Today, I’d like to share my latest attempt at putting power into the hands of We the People.
Like Reddit, my new Capitol Bells app is community-driven. YOU generate the issues, polls, news, and voting positions. Furthermore, it streams in official bills and congressional updates, including the real-time data I hacked from the Capitol’s voting alert system. In fact, hundreds of Congressmen and thousands of staffers already use it to track votes and bills everyday.
As you use the app, Capitol Bells automatically builds your personal voting record. Using your voting record, we calculate how often your Congressman actually votes with you compared to how well other community leaders could represent you.
As a PC gaming nerd, I’ve gamified Capitol Bells too. The better you are at winning the trust of your community and getting your fellow constituents to vote with you on important issues, the higher you’ll rise on the leaderboard. You might even achieve the rank of President.
On that note, I challenge you: collectively cast one million votes on Capitol Bells by July 4 and I’ll form a Super PAC to support the crowdsourced candidates of your choice through micro-donations.
tl;dr Capitol Bells is like Reddit for crowd-lobbying Congress, and, if we cast a million votes, I’ll start a Super PAC for crowdsourced candidates.
Please AMA! Proof