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Why we built Democracy.io
Democracy thrives when people’s voices are heard. The easier it is for you to contact Congress, the better. It’s that simple.
Failure to effectively reach members of Congress has disastrous consequences. Studies show that politicians fundamentally misconceive their constituents’ views, making it harder for them to represent us in the lawmaking process.
That’s why we built Democracy.io: a new tool to put you in touch with your members of Congress—with as few clicks as possible.
Simple and easy to use
We make it possible for you to email your two senators and representative through a single website. You submit one message—not three different messages on three different forms on three different websites.
Some key features:
- All your senators and representatives on one website.
- Say whatever you want. Many activism platforms want you to send a pre-written message about a specific topic. We let you tell Congress exactly what’s on your mind.
- Free software. All our code is licensed under the AGPL, which means people can create new versions with different features and continue to improve on our original idea.
We don’t tell people what to say
This project is hosted by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), but it’s a neutral tool. We don’t control or influence the messages that are sent through Democracy.io. We’re committed to free speech, and we support the free speech rights of our users.
Sometimes we may oppose what people choose to tell their legislators. Even in those cases, we won’t censor what individuals choose to say. We think society benefits from a plurality of voices speaking on a broad range of topics, and as a free speech organization this is a value we hold dear, even if we disagree with the message.
While we have tried to make the best tool we can, please understand that Democracy.io may have bugs or other technical issues, and is offered without any warranty; without even the implied warranty of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. See the license for more details.
Why we’re doing this.
First, we want contacting your elected officials to be easy. Then more people will do it. And that’s good for democracy.
We also want to show off the functionality of the tools EFF has been creating over the last several years. We are working from the contact-congress dataset originally created by the Participatory Politics Foundation and later adopted by and improved upon by the Sunlight Foundation, EFF, and several collaborating organizations. Together, we’ve been working on a large-scale project to improve how Internet users contact elected officials and other decision makers.
Democracy.io lets you test out one of these tools—emailing members of Congress—but we’re also creating simple ways to send Tweets to members of Congress, call Congress, sign petitions, and submit official comments to government agencies. If you’re an advocacy organization that likes how this works, check out our Github page and contact firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss whether these free software, user-focused tools are a good solution for your advocacy needs.
Who is behind this project
Democracy.io was built by three amazing programmers who want to make the world a better place—Sina Khanifar, Leah Jones, and Randy Lubin, as part of a project for the Electronic Frontier Foundation. It’s maintained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
The backend system that delivers these messages to Congress was written by EFF employee William Budington. The contact-congress dataset that was completed with help from over 100 EFF volunteer web developers, (and in particular these five individuals). The dataset is now maintained by EFF, the Sunlight Foundation, and Action Network.
Democracy.io is copyright (c) 2015 Electronic Frontier Foundation and is licensed under the GNU Affero General Public License, Version 3.
Jump in, change the world.
Want to help with this and future technology projects? If you’re a web developer who might want to occasionally volunteer, send an email to email@example.com and also sign up with Taskforce, a volunteer group that works with EFF on many projects to make the Internet more awesome and free.