Visible Vote Mobile iPhone app deserves your support

Mar 19, 2010
Tech

It takes a certain amount of effort to keep up with the political landscape in the United States today. Between the distractions of keeping up with your own job, family, friends and leisure activities, you’re not left with much time to figure out whether the issues you care about are being fairly represented. The Visible Vote Mobile iPhone […]

It takes a certain amount of effort to keep up with the political landscape in the United States today. Between the distractions of keeping up with your own job, family, friends and leisure activities, you’re not left with much time to figure out whether the issues you care about are being fairly represented.

The Visible Vote Mobile iPhone app (free) has taken a giant step towards making sure that’s no longer the case. Even better, the quasi-social networking iPhone app works without much fuss. After supplying a small amount of data (name, zip code, state, email address and your political party), you’re off and running.

Your zip code  is used to determine what government officials you’ll be keeping tabs on, so once you’ve put the info in, the main page of the iPhone app becomes a scorecard of sorts, with your senators and congressmen listed alongside a “real-time approval rating” and a list of how many of their positions you’ve agreed or disagreed with. 

Organization is a strong point for Visible Vote Mobile. Aside from the scorecard tab, the other main tab on the iPhone app is labeled “Vote Now” and contains all 6,000-plus bills up for vote in Congress. By clicking a bill, you can see comments on the bill, state vote tallies, a description, links to the full bill and a highlights portion that summarizes the bill. Once you’ve digested that info, you’re a vote away from seeing whether your representatives see eye-to-eye with you.

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Supposing they don’t, the next tab will be of great interest to concerned citizens. It’s a handy e-form that allows you to fire off a message to the representative of your choosing. The form is similar to any other e-submission form. I worry for the representatives who will likely get a much higher volume of low-quality email flaming their performance, but it’s hard not to love this use of technology.

If there is any fault at all to Visible Vote Mobile, it’s that it doesn’t provide much background on your elected officials. You’re able to tap a single button and call their office, but there isn’t a bio — or anything similar — in sight. Disappointing, especially when you consider the iPhone app also lets you keep tabs on congressmen who aren’t in your district. It would be fun to pick a few to follow and actually learn things about them aside from their voting record.

Minor quibble aside, for anyone who wants to feel more involved in the legislative process, this iPhone app is a must have. People are quick to complain that the government has too much information about them, so why not return the favor and find out about your government? With this free iPhone app, there’s no excuse not to.

The developer of this application is an Appolicious advertiser. This editorial review was written independent of all advertising considerations.

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Dan Kricke

Dan Kricke has been playing with electronics and writing about them for years. He loved his Sega Dreamcast and now the PlayStation 3. On the iPhone, he's a fan of sports apps and anything that offers new music.

 

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