Answerability is Powerfully Delivered with Interactive Reports

This entry is part 6 of 11 in the series Real Accountability

Answerability can be powerfully implemented using interactive reports. This will make them engaging plus put teeth into them so voters can truly hold their officials accountable.

This is the 4th in a 9-part series looking at how PeopleCount will implement, or support, the three principles that make up accountability, and how it will address the problems with them that exist in America’s political system. This is the second of two about the second aspect of accountability, answerability. In the last post, we saw that answerability means they answer you. And not just on the issues they want to answer. On the issues you want answers about. But there’s more.

You judge them

Imagine answering your boss’ question about your work. It doesn’t stop there. He or she then judges you (sometimes with consequences, such as sending you back to work on it some more, or trying a new direction.)

Currently, you can send your congressperson a question. When they answer you, it’s pretty much over. That’s not accountability. You also need to judge them and they need to hear it. And your judgement should matter, it should be part of an ongoing judgement created by the whole constituency. So we’ve designed that into our system.

On PeopleCount, we’ll start with a simple way of doing this. After reading one of your congressperson’s report, you’ll be able to judge them by giving them a grade.

In the beginning, it’ll just be one grade. You’ll grade them on well they’ve done their job of representing the district (or state, for a senator), according to their report. Remember, you’ll know how the other constituents, and all Americans, have voted on issues. (We also have some ideas for other grades, such as completeness and honesty.) Challengers and the press will weigh in so that you’ll get a broader perspective in case you have one of the (few?) not-completely-honest politicians.

You’ll grade the reports of both incumbents and challengers. When the election comes, you’ll be able to see the average grade you’ve given each, to remind you of what you’ve thought of their reports.

Plus you’ll be able to see the average grade of your district or state on each report, to see what others thought of it.

And the representative or senator will see it, too. You’ll be giving them feedback.

And you’ll be able to see their average grade from everyone in your district or state on all the issues. You’ll see a measure of how satisfied or dissatisfied all you voters are with the job they’ve done. This will also help you act in concert with others in the election. For instance, while the district might largely support one party, it could easily help a challenger in the same party win the primary.

PeopleCount delivers answerability, the essence of accountability

We have more ideas for how to make this work, but will start with the basic functions outlined above, and get your feedback.

But the bottom line is: Your elected officials will be accountable to you. You’ll guide them and have expectations. They’ll report to you and you’ll judge them. And they’ll produce results much more aligned to what the voters want.

Freedom from being accountable to the party and the wealthy

One of the key parts of being accountable to the people is not being accountable to others. Currently, not knowing what we want and not being able to report to us, politicians huddle together for safety in groups, the parties. It’s the party that’s responsible for most positions and for battling the other party to make progress.

There’s a downside to this. Our populations are at most 60% from one party, so party positions don’t represent all of us. Being able to know what we want and how we feel judge their answers, our officials will be freer to work for us regardless of what the party says. They’ll begin to be accountable just to us, not to a party.

Similarly, being able to communicate to us for very low cost, they’ll be free of the need to fundraise. They’ll be free of the need to be accountable to the wealthy.

In the next post, we’ll tackle the third part of political accountability- fire-ability.

Series Navigation<< Answerability is Key for Congress to be Accountable to CitizensInformed Voters are required for Fire-ability >>

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