New apps make it easier for voters to get the facts and hold their politicians accountable.
Voters struggle to quickly find their political rep and complain about bad legislation while organizers find it hard to build contact lists of people concerned about an issue. Interactive maps integrated with apps like Movement.Digital give voters a user-friendly interface and organizers a better way to build targeted contact lists.
This project was inspired by grassroots Tennessee volunteers who wanted to harness the outrage against Republicans who "would forbid state licensing officials from disciplining doctors for how they treat coronavirus or what they say about the COVID-19 vaccines, potentially undermining a new effort to crack down on doctors who spread misinformation in the midst of the pandemic. Medical board deletes anti-misinformation policy amid GOP pressure. Rep. John Ragan threatened to dissolve the Board of Medical Examiners" - Tennessean
This blog explains how:
- To use maps make it easy to find your political reps at both a district, county, state and Federal level
- Include all the facts such as COVID deaths, headlines and details of the legislation in a dashboard
- Let voters email or call their political rep with one click using their favorite app
- Build a contact list of the people who complain to their politician about the issue
Harness the outrage
Voters typically have to first find who represents them, get their contact information and then either call or email them. This takes time and effort and requires a computer with an internet connection. The new approach presents all the facts on one map and can be used from a phone. A voter simply clicks on the map where they live and are provided a draft email they can customize and send with one click. Organizers automatically build a list of all the voters who sent a complaint which can be used to mobilize them later when it comes time to vote.
Present all the facts
An interactive map presents voters with all the facts so they can make an informed decision and can contact the politician responsible with one click. They can also share the map with others on social media through a link. This map was created with ArcGIS Online using COVID data from the John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center that is updated automatically. Headline from the Tennessean explain John Ragan's actions on 'undermining a new effort to crack down on doctors who spread misinformation in the midst of the pandemic'. Cartoons from PoliticalCartoons add a touch of humor.
- This map was created with ArcGIS Online
Movement.Digital is used to help voters email their political rep
- COVID data from the John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center that is updated automatically.
- Headline from the Tennessean explain John Ragan's actions on 'undermining a new effort to crack down on doctors who spread misinformation in the midst of the pandemic'.
- Cartoons from PoliticalCartoons add a touch of humor.
Make it easy for voters
The map is also provided as an app where the Tennessee upper and lower state house districts can be seen along with COVID death counts per county. This makes it easier for voters to see how well their reps are serving them.
Clicking on the link transfers details on the voter's location along with their rep's name, email and phone number to another application. In this project we used Movement.Digital which allows organizers to create draft emails and petitions for voters to customize and send. The emails are sent from the user's email address to the politician(s) selected. The campaign organizer receives a list of all the people who sent emails to the politician. Learn more here.
Make the message easy to share
Make it easy for people to understand the issue at a glance. We used the free QR Code generator app to convert the URL for the map into a code that's easy to share. Scanning the code launches the map automatically.
TakeAway: Tax payers fund the salaries of politicians who are supposed to represent them. Use technology to make it easy for people to see when they are not being well served and what they can do about it.