POPVOX curates comments to Congress

Wednesday - 12/1/2010, 4:20pm EST

Marci Harris, CEO, POPVOX

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Every day lawmakers on Capitol Hill are bombarded with comments from citizens, but often times the sheer amount of input falls on deaf ears because the Congressional staffs can't sort through it all. Agencies are facing similar situations.

Emails, tweets and Facebook posts have made it easier for citizens to communicate with lawmakers. But, until now, there has been no corresponding tool to help representatives and their staff make sense of all the comments.

POPVOX, launching in its beta version, is an answer to the "deluge" of information coming into congressional offices, said Marci Harris, CEO of POPVOX, in an interview with the DorobekINSIDER.

POPVOX allows citizens and grassroots organizations to register their position on specific bills pending before Congress, Harris said. Congressional staff and members can find out how constituents feel about certain issues.

Those comments and positions are taken into account for a floor speech, a committee meeting and the final vote, Harris said.

"It's an opportunity to make everyone more informed," she said.

A congressional staffer can go to the site, look up a particular bill and a pie chart will appear that shows the amount of support. That data can be "drilled down" by state, congressional district and individual comments, Harris said.

As a former congressional staffer, Harris said compiling information on the public's positions on bills was a "lengthy process." With POPVOX, staffers will get the information they need quickly.

"What normally takes four to five hours will take a couple of clicks," she said.