This is about the nuts and bolts of the first version of PeopleCount. It’s very simple.
Imagine a non-partisan website about political issues. It’s purpose is to serve you.
No personal data is ever shared with others.
Here are the nuts and bolts:
1. You vote on issues. Each issue starts with a simple, general question. Usually there are 2-5 more questions as well, drilling down into details. They are crafted so almost everyone can express what they want. They’re not the simple yes/no votes you find on other sites.
Many questions include a paragraph of explanation, plus a link to articles about it. The articles are sorted into groups: for, balanced, and against. There are indicators about their length and complexity.
2. You see how others vote. Beneath each answer are 3 bars showing the percentage of the constituents who checked that answer in your district, the state, and the country.
3. You expect action, if a decent majority favors one.
Most people, upon hearing this object: “But not that many people will use the site.” Most people who care about politics will use PeopleCount within a year. What would cause this? We’ve mapped that out very carefully, but it’s not for this article.
– If it’s a serious problem without a majority, you expect your representative will work with Congress to forge a compromise. Or they’ll decide on a best plan and get people’s buy-in.
Summary of the first part: You vote on issues and see results. In the first version, many of the most important things you want to say to politicians you’ll be able to say on PeopleCount.
4. You ask for monthly reports on important issues. If an issue is important to you, you check a box to ask your politicians for a short report on it each month. This might be a one-sentence update, a paragraph, or 2-3 paragraphs. You only do this with important issues.
5. When a report comes, you find 1, 2 or 10 minutes to read and grade it.
The heart of accountability is reporting, judging and giving feedback. You grade your representatives reports. Remember- you know what your district and the country want. So you can judge how well the representative is doing their job representing the voters.
Summary of the second key part of the nuts and bolts. You grade simple, short reports.
6. A challenger or two will report. On the important issues, you’ll be able to read those reports and grade them, too.
7. Accountability happens in a relationship. As the months roll on, you’ll get to know the challengers and the incumbents. You’ll see them disagree on issues. You’ll see their average grades.
8. When the primary is near, you’ll know whether you like the incumbent or a challenger better. You’ll know if it’s important to vote in the primary. You’ll also see the average grades that other constituents have given. You’re welcome to look at their average grades on all issues. If you want, you’ll also be able to see the grades of various special interest groups and parties.
- You vote on issues and see the results.
- You ask for, receive, and grade short reports.
- You form a relationship of accountability with incumbents and challengers.
Next, we’ll look at how these simple nuts and bolts will matter.