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Civic Tech and Engagement: In Search of a Common Language

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, September 5 2014

Marten van Valkenborsch, Construction of the Tower of Babel (c. 1600)

We need much clearer language to describe civic tech. Too often, people working in this field struggle to put into words what it is they are striving for. It's not enough to assume that, like the Supreme Court and obscenity, we know good civic tech when we see it. And if we can't say why something is good (or even great), how can we know what to design for? Indeed, how do we even know if we're after the same design goals? Read More

First POST: Polarization

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, August 5 2014

How social media is making Israeli-Palestinian polarization worse; Brigade's plans to be an online "civic network," Turbovote's expansion across Florida campuses; and much, much more. Read More

New Tool Aims to Counter Congressional Gridlock with Virtual Support

BY Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, March 26 2014

Ted Henderson, a former congressional staffer and the founder of the mobile app Capitol Bells, was frustrated by the legislative gridlock on issues such as climate change and gun control. Read More

First POST: Lip Reading

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, February 3 2014

Journalism after Snowden; Canada's unfolding spying scandal; PopVox's bright future; and much, much more. Read More

Second Amendment Grassroots Advocates Are More Politically Active Than Their Gun Control Peers

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Friday, January 18 2013

Photo: Courtesy Firearms Policy Coalition

Gun control advocates may be grabbing the headlines, but gun-owning grassroots types are more politically engaged, according to survey data. What's more, a look at the online contact-Congress platform PopVox suggests ... Read More

House Dems to Pull Public Opinion Data, Position Papers From Third-Party Site

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, July 19 2012

In the 112th Congress, House Republicans have made much ado about efforts to gin up citizen input, like House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's YouCut initiative or House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa's Madison platform for soliciting comment on individual bills. Now House Democrats are getting in on the act. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer announced today that House Dems will integrate citizen input and organizational position papers submitted on POPVOX, a website for tracking bills and contacting Congress about them, into a document repository shared by every Democratic member. Read More

House Oversight Committee To Implement New Contact-Congress Tool

BY Miranda Neubauer | Monday, July 9 2012

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform will become the first committee to implement POPVOX’s “Write Congress” tool on five pieces of legislation. POPVOX is an online platform that lets individual constituents and organizations commment on legislation and and show their support for specific bills. The House Committee is getting ready to launch a slightly modified version of the POPVOX website widget, available to anyone, that's been modified to comply with requirements of the Franking Committee. For example, text that once read "Tell Congress what you think" is now "share your views." Read More

Capitol Hill's Dec. 7 Hackathon Means Government's Getting Geekier

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Monday, November 28 2011

Photo: Elliott P. / Flickr Software developers, Capitol Hill staffers and transparency advocates will brainstorm about what's to come in this field at Congress’ first-ever hackathon on Dec. 7 at the Capitol Visitors ... Read More

New iPad App Hopes to Modernize Lawmaking on the Hill

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Thursday, November 17 2011

For years, BlackBerries have been the signature gadget that every Hill staffer has to have. PopVox's "MarkUp," app, which debuted in Apple's iTunes store Thursday, might be one more reason for the iPad to stake a claim ... Read More

And the Award for Acceleration Goes to...

BY Nancy Scola | Wednesday, March 16 2011

A sign, perhaps, of how government geekery is going mainstream geek? Legislative innovators PopVox won the prize for best social media and networking site in SXSW's "Microsoft BizSpark Accelerator" competition ... Read More