Tag Archives: USA.gov

Want to get Politically Active? There’s an App for That

In the first days of Donald Trump’s presidency the flames of political passion were, and continue to be, intense. People of both political parties are calling for change and make no mistake, no one is completely happy. Black people especially are unhappy with the rehetoric and the people in Trump’s administration. We need to get politically active and make our voice heard. There’s an app for that.

But before we start talking about technology and political activisim we need to identify who our elected representative is, how to contact them and how to influence them.  African-Americans need to speak out, be heard and vote! Get Yo Black Ass Out and Vote!

To determine who is representing you locally, at the state level and in Washington visit CommonCause.org. You can enter you address and find out in seconds who is speaking for you. The information includes their names, phone numbers, web pages and email addresses. You can also check USA.gov. There are numerous websites dedicated to finding this information just search and you shall find.

The best way to get in contact with your elected representative is still a good old fashioned phone call. You can email them, write a letter or you can make an appointment to see them. Its their job to answer you.  The Constitution gives you the right to “Petition the government for redress of issues.” That means your represenative is obligated to answer your questions. Another effective way to make your voice herd is to write to the editor of the local newspaper. Learn more about how to influence your elected representative by visiting the Congressional Management Foundation website.

But if you own a smartphone you can easily contact, track and weigh in on what your representative is doing. The Countable app is a news and information app that allows the user to understand and vote on the bills being considered by their representative. Countable explains the issues in plain english and sends your “Yay” or “Nay” directly to your representative. Countable is free and available for Apple and Android devices.

 

 

Another app for tracking bills is called TrackBill. This app not only follows what is happening in Washington but also in your state capitol. Available for Apple and Android.

 

 

 

Brigade – This app is a combination social media platform and political information resource. You actually take a quiz on the issues that allows the app to profile your stance. It also helps you find you representatives. But keep in mind, like any social media forum, you are going to get a lot of partisan viewpoints. Hey, its politics. Brigade is available for Apple and Android.

 

 

One of the things all black people should focus on is local politics. Remember, these are the issues that affect you directly. Right there in your city, county or neighborhood. OpenStates website helps you accomplish this by using your smartphone position to tell you exactly who to contact about an issue. The site is easy to use and reader-friendly with outlines of local bills that are being considered and one that have been passed.

 

 

We are all looking for a non-partisan answer to the issues that impact us. Its a nice dream but not so easily attainable. But Ballotpedia tries to be that nonpartisan reference guide breaking down the results of elections and providing an overview of bills that are currently being debated. It also provides details about elected representatives for all levels of governmant. The website also can send you email updates. You can find a fact checker on the website as well called “Verbatim.In case you want to check those alternative facts.

Now you know.

The Internet and the Black Voter

get-yoAs the presidential election campaigns wind down America is looking forward to a new face in the White House. African-Americans we can wish Brother President Barack Obama and his family a loving farewell with thanks.

But as black voters we need to understand three things. First, our support of the first black president was a powerful indicator of what changes can come about when we vote. The black vote secured President Obama’s first and second terms.  Second, the black vote can be powerful and not just in presidential elections. We can change things from our own neighborhoods to what happens in Washington D.C. If we vote. Finally, Black people have died for this right. Not acting on it is a sickening betrayal.

The Internet is an effective tool to extract the power of black voters.  To be a voter you must first register. Many states (not all) make it easy to register. Some states allow you to register at the local DMV also know as “motor voter” or post office. But if you have not registered to vote you can visit USA.gov to get the process started and get valuable information about voting in your state. You can also search the Internet for your polling place.

Young black people are in love with technology, especially social media. And social media is helping the democratic process by using their platforms to get young people registered to vote. SnapChat began encouraging young users to register via its app by running video ads. According to Mashable the ads are shown only to users who are 18 years of age and older. This is a powerful effort because Snapchat is used on a daily basis by 41 percent of all people aged 18 to 34 years old in the U.S.

Other social media sites that are urging voter registration can be found in this report from Mashable. Though not a social media site even Uber is encouraging participation in the democratic process.

Google and Facebook, the world’s most powerful social network, are also encouraging you to vote and helping you get registered. Simply search “how to register to vote” and Google will tell you how to do it in your state. Facebook offers a “Register Now” button that sends the user to Vote.gov.

Voter registration apps are all over the place. So black people have no excuse for not being registered. A simple web search can reveal a voter website, app or printable form for all fifty states. Its that simple.

Registering to vote could also get you a date or help find a significant other. There are apps that can hook you up with a like minded voter for romance.

But there is more to it than just registering to vote and then stepping up to the ballot box. Black people need to be informed voters; know what’s happening!

Finding information on your local, state and national issues is as simple searching the Internet. Want to know what your representative is doing or has done?  Want to check out his biography? Examine his life, his voting position on issues that affect black voters? How he has voted on issues that affect you? Who is contributing money to his campaign? You can find that information and a helluva lot more at Votesmart.org. This is one of the most powerful and impartial voter information tools available to the black voter. You can even call them with a question and someone will personally research your question and get you an answer.

Another powerful voter information tool is Countable.us. This is an informative website and application that allows the voter to read about the current bills moving through Congress and issues facing the federal government. The voter can get fair and impartial synopsis of current bills, where they are in the legislative process, what they will cost the taxpayer, who supports the bill and why and when the vote is expected to take place. In addition the user can direct email their representative their stance on the issue or bill. Download Countable.us for Apple and Android devices.

Finally do you know who your elected representative is? To find who is representing you on the local, state and nation level check out  the Common Cause  website to find that person.

Now you know.