Press Release: “AskThem.io, launching Feb. 10th, is a free & open-source website for questions-and-answers with public figures. AskThem is like a version of the White House’s “We The People” petition platform, where over 8 million people have taken action to support questions for a public response – but for the first time, for every elected official nationwide…AskThem.io has official government data for over 142,000 U.S. elected officials at every level of government: federal, state, county, and municipal. Also, AskThem allows anyone to ask a question to any verified Twitter account, for online dialogue with public figures.
Here’s how AskThem works for online public dialogue:
- For the first time in an open-source website, visitors enter their street address to see all their elected officials, from federal down to the city levels, or search for a verified Twitter account.
- Individuals & organizations submit a question to their elected officials – for example, asking a city council member about a proposed ban on plastic bags.
- People then sign on to the questions and petitions they support, voting them up on AskThem and sharing them over social media, as with online petitions.
- When a question passes a certain threshold of signatures, AskThem delivers it to the recipient over email & social media and encourages a public response – creating a continual, structured dialogue with elected officials at every level of government.
AskThem also incorporates open government data, such as city council agendas and key vote information, to inform good questions of people in power. Open government advocate, Chicago, IL Clerk Susana Mendoza, joined AskThem because she believes that “technology should bring residents and the Office of the Chicago City Clerk closer together.”
Elected officials who sign up with AskThem agree to respond to the most popular questions from their constituents (about two per month). Interested elected officials can sign up now to become verified, free & open to everyone.
Issue-based organizations can use question & petition info from AskThem to surface political issues in their area that people care about, stay continuously engaged with government, and promote public accountability. Participating groups on AskThem include the internet freedom non-profit Fight For the Future, the social media crowd-speaking platform Thunderclap.it, the Roosevelt Institute National Student Network, and more.”