Civic engagement platform PopVox to expand to states

A platform that crowdsources opinions about federal legislation is preparing to launch state-level platforms — beginning with California and Tennessee.

Zack Jordan
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Zack Jordan
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California's capitol (Jake Williams/StateScoop)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A platform that crowdsources opinions about federal legislation is preparing to launch state-level platforms — beginning with California and Tennessee.

Called PopVox, the Web portal allows users to post comments about bills or issues, which it then forwards to lawmakers. Marci Harris, CEO of PopVox, said since the company unveiled the platform in November 2010, users and lawmakers have clamored for a state version.

“We’re rolling out slowly,” Harris said. “Over the past year, we’ve done a lot of infrastructure work to get ready for this extension.”

California was selected because of its population size and volume of policies — and because PopVox already has a large number of existing users in the state. PopVox also chose Tennessee because the company already had a team based in the state. PopVox also wanted to launch in one red state and one blue state, Harris said.

“The goal is to create tools for everyone” and make the lawmaking process more transparent, Harris said.

State legislatures enact policies quickly, Harris said, even as news organizations cut back their coverage of state government. She said it demonstrates the importance of engagement platforms like hers.

“Despite what many people think, members of Congress truly care what their constituents have to say,” Harris said. “They don’t care what the entire Internet has to say about something, but they do truly care what their constituents have to say, and they have to care because that’s who elects them and I think state legislatures have the same problem.”

PopVox said they are not ready to get into the mechanics yet of how the site will work, however they will be launching a beta version of the site in January 2016.

-In this Story-

States, California, Tennessee, State & Local News, Open Government, Transparency, Marci Harris, POPVOX, State Government

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