If you live in the United States, it is your civic duty to understand our governing bodies and the political system that puts them in place. It does not matter what your age is, knowing who to vote for is as important as voting at all. It starts with policing your own representatives to help decide whether or not to re-elect them.
To navigate the confusion and complex world of politics, your best tool is your smartphone. There are many apps for Android and iOS that consolidate information in an easy-to-use interface. You can learn exactly what your representatives are voting on and the details of the bills that are currently being proposed. Instead of limiting your knowledge to news outlets, you can get the information closer to the source and shape your opinion accordingly.
App 1. ReleVote (iPhone)
ReleVote is a great app for those who want to learn more about the legislative branch. You can search for individual members or find your representative in the House by entering your zip code.
On the congressman’s website, you will find their voting records organized in a pie chart. You can see how often they vote along party lines and specific bills that they (or did not) vote for. You can add members of Congress to your favorite list for reference and contact all members by phone. There are also direct votes and updates on the status of the latest bills.
App 2. Countable (Android & iPhone)
Countable is an app that allows you to take an active role in your government’s decisions. Instead of calling your representatives to vote the way you want, you can tell them by voting for the bills yourself. Each bill provides a quick summary for the benefit and against the bill, which with the help of this information can choose “Yay” or “No” as if you were a member of Congress.
Even if your vote has no legal authority, it is handed over to your representatives (both in the House and in the Senate), so they know what you want them to choose. In addition, you can leave a comment to justify your decision, and it will also be sent to your congressmen.
To help you navigate the hundreds of issues the government is responsible for, you can choose topics you want to learn more about that will fill your flow. You will find the latest news related to this interest, so that your knowledge remains current.
App 3. Our Congress (iPhone)
If you use an iPhone, another good option is Our Congress. This app will inform you almost everyone in a high political position, including chamber members, senators, the governor and even the district attorney.
Each government official includes contact information across platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, phone numbers, and their Web site. For members of Congress, you will find two additional categories, “Record” and “Campaign Contribution.” The former lets you know their voting records, committees they are involved in, bills they are sponsored and more, while the latter gives you a breakdown of who their donors are and what industry they are affiliated with.
There is also a section on upcoming bills. You can search for bills currently in the House and Senate and read a summary of the one they contain. There is also a section on the daily activities of the Congress and nominations for special positions. It even contains a copy of the constitution.
App 4. Congress (Android)
While Congress is not the most beautiful app, it has everything you need to learn about Congress activities. It contains information about upcoming bills, including a summary and who introduced it. There is also a timeline for accounting activities and voting information. At the bottom of the page (above the message bar) is the option to be notified of updates to the bill.
You can search for representatives, follow bills, votes and more. Unlike other apps, you can not search for your representative with your zip code, so you must find which district you are in, but you will then have quick access to their contact information. Despite its name, the app is not affiliated with the US Congress. However, its data is accurate, as it is collected using ProPublica’s congress API. It is also one of the few open source apps on our list.
App 5.5 calls (Android)
5 Conversations are not for everyone. There is a liberal bias that will discourage independence and conservatives. However, it is an excellent tool to make you more active in government if you adapt to the creators on the issues.
As the name suggests, the app encourages you to make five calls a day to your representatives. It presents several issues and asks you to call the House and Senate members to demand change.
Choose a topic and read the accompanying summary. If you feel passionate about it, select “Contacts to inquire about this issue” and then select one of your representatives. You get their number along with a script to recite. After making a call, 5 calls ask you to let them know the result, whether or not they were available, left a voicemail or contacted.
Keep your connection secure without a monthly invoice. Get a lifetime subscription to VPN Unlimited for all your devices with a one-time purchase from the new Gadget Hacks Shop and watch Hulu or Netflix without regional restrictions.
Buy now (80% off)>