The New York City Council has launched a new citizen engagement application with civic startup Countable. The mobile app is designed to provide information about issues before the City Council and will allow residents to voice their support or opposition.
Countable launched last year and includes a handful of political insiders as advisors. The app aims to make politics more like a Buzzfeed list by offering brief summaries and pro and con arguments about any bill. Users can also tell their representatives how they’d like them to vote on the issues. After votes have been cast users will see if their representatives voted the way they wanted them to.
The company claims that users have sent over 1 million emails to Capitol Hill through the app since launch. The efficacy of email campaigns on Capitol Hill or locally is questionable, but does represent a fairly low barrier to entry in terms of getting individuals to become more involved in the political process.
With coordination from Council Member Vacca and City Council members, CEO Bart Myers developed a New York City Council platform for Countable – one of the first local municipalities to receive this app’s capability. Starting the first week of April, all New Yorkers will be able to sign up via e-mail or Facebook to browse legislation by trend or topic and submit their opinions to their City Council member.
“There are no shortages of opinions in New York City and it is time our residents have a 21st century mode of expression for those opinions,” said Council Member I. Daneek Miller.
The app is available for both iPhone and Android users.