Are you looking to voice your opinion on how your Congressional delegates vote? Well there is an app for that!
Capitol Bells, an iPhone app, just released a new feature allowing constituents to vote on legislation alongside their representative, in real-time. The app alerts participants when a vote is about to occur, tracks the official vote tallies, and releases information on current legislation.
Created by Ted Henderson, who was a staffer for Democratic Michigan Rep. Dale Kildee, the app was originally intended as a way to help new staffers understand when votes were happening. But, it has developed into a way for the general public to vote as if they were on the House floor.
“The idea is for the constituents to review the legislation and voice their opinion,” Henderson said to msnbc.
At a time when Congress is struggling with an approval rating of 12% and an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows that 57% of Americans want to replace everyone in Congress, this app could also help keep a pose on their constituents.
“Member of Congress have two jobs: Uphold the constitution and represent their constituents. This app allows them to do both,” Henderson said. The app also “lowers the bar for constituents to participate as it doesn’t take that much effort to voice your opinion.”
While Henderson is not releasing exact numbers of who has downloaded the app until the Android version is released in September, he did say that there he has seen a spike in participation since releasing this app to the general public.
The app has also seen backing from those in Congress. “I am excited that now Capitol Bells will be offering another way for my constituents to communicate with me and other members of Congress about their views on legislation in real time, as votes are happening,” Colorado Rep. Jared Polis endorsed on the Capitol Bells website. “I am proud to support efforts like Capitol Bells that demonstrate how technology and innovation can both ensure greater transparency as well as foster increased civic participation.”
Maryland Representative Steny Hoyer has also shown his support for the app.