By Rebecca Moore
Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, Bernie Sanders, and, of course, Trump: these are all people you probably recognize. As the presidential race has become increasingly televised over the past decade, and now with social media, it eclipses our lives for the greater part of two years. Of course it’s important to be well-educated and vote in the general election, but the reality is your senators and congressmen play a bigger role in affecting change.
As millennials, we tend to get an especially bad rep about our lack of knowledge or involvement in politics. The claim is not unfounded. In 2014, we had a measly 17.1% turnout. This is embarrassingly low. While there are likely a plethora of reasons as to why this is, I don’t believe it’s apathy. Most young people have opinions on how the country they are about to inherit is to be run, but the political system either looks too complicated or too corrupt for them to feel like they can make any difference. However, we can change that. The first step to that is knowing who your representatives are and contacting them to make sure they know what their constituents want.
You’ve heard the phrase “contact your representative” before, but let’s be real, have you ever written them a letter? Or even picked up the phone? Maybe once, but certainly not often. The reality is those forms of communication are becoming the ways of the past, but now, you can contact them the way any normal 21st century person would: an app.
Welcome Countable, the revolutionary new app that allows you to actually make your voice heard.
An app that allows you to see what bills are being voted on, and then voting yay or nay to those bills. Your vote is then sent to your representative. Also, the app will tell you who they are when you sign up, so no more ending up like those people on Lie Witness News.
Let’s do a quick walk through.
This is what your home screen will look like. You’ll see featured bills, trending issues, a profile spotlight, currently made up of presidential candidates, and below all that are current active bills.
It will ask you for your home address if you want your votes sent to your representative, but no worries, they would be getting that info anyway if you contacted them through the traditional letter. I’ve never received any junk mail from them and you can turn off your email notifications in the settings.
Now a profile has been set up, so we can go vote.
I could go through the trending bills on the home page, or I can search.
I want to be an astronaut one day, so I need congress to keep giving the space program money. Up in the right I see a bill I want to vote on. I can either vote right there, or click on the bill to read more information first.
This page contains other users opinions and more information on the bill, such as cost, where it’s been passed, who sponsored it, etc.
Countable breaks down the bill into easily understood language without talking down to the user.
This page has a feature that I very much like: no commenting on other people's votes. Huzzah for no more tasteless cyber arguments! The first thing you will see is people who vote for or against, and a comment on why. Now, if you particularly like something someone said, you can give it an upvote, making the opinion higher on the page, and also raising that person's profile score, but you can’t respond. This feature is one that I think focuses the point of the app, and not yelling at some random person 7 states away about gun control or abortion. The other people’s comments are usually brief, and are a good way to see how something matters to others, but not the dominating focus.
After you’ve voted, and decided on whether or not to share a short statement, you can go back and check on bast bills. For example, the first bill I voted on was on repealing No Child Left Behind.
Now that the bill has been voted on, I can check to see if my representatives (shown on the bottom) voted how I would have. This helps me to decide if I want to vote for them next election cycle.
You can follow candidates and organizations, and even yours truly if you’d like.
Countable is bringing a real, accessible way for people to get involved in politics. Download it today, or go to countable.us to start making your voice heard.
(Images via Countable’s desktop platform)