App Creator Describes Non-Wonk's Tool for Access to Lawmakers

Friday, 15 Aug 2014 05:22 PM

By Sean Piccoli

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The co-creator of a new app, Countable, told Newsmax TV on Friday that his web and iPhone portal lets users track, understand, and rate legislation in Congress, and then engage directly with lawmakers — who can, and really do, respond.

Bart Myers, Countable's CEO and co-founder, told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner that officeholders are proving to be reachable through his app, despite the stereotype of politicians forever trying to obscure their legislative doings from the public.

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Myers, based in San Francisco, said that on Friday he received an email from Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-California, thanking him for input on a piece of legislation that he gave using Countable.

"It wasn't terribly personal," Myers said of the Boxer email, "but there's definitely a feedback loop there."

He said that the app provides summaries, critiques, and cost estimates for each bill, using information from lawmakers and official sources including the Congressional Budget Office and Congressional Research Service.

App users are allowed to be non-experts in policy, politics, and parliamentary procedure, he said, counting himself and his Countable co-founder in that category.

"We're not wonks," he said.

Myers said that Countable forwards individual users' bill ratings, or "votes," into Congress' existing email channels.

"We’re taking your votes, and we’re translating them into the system that our [elected] representatives are already using," he said. "So it goes into their electronic correspondence and gives them a reasonably easy way, one would hope, to respond back to their constituents, which is how it should be."

Myers said that Countable users have sent more than 300,000 messages to Congress.

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