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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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High Tech Realm: Make Your Voice Heard

Today, we are in an era of uncertainty and turmoil. From the battles in the Middle East, the debate over health care, issues with the global economy, and plenty more, politicians have taken on an ever increasing importance of what appears to be a life or death decision of the world as we know it.

While politics is far from the favorite conversation topics of many – I myself tend to be drawn to political polls, provided you don’t have to participate in a heated debate over your reasoning. Now while the country has long allowed citizens to participate in the election of politicians, a new application for the iPhone, Blackberry, Android, Facebook, and the web allows you to vote on the same bills your members of Congress are considering or even the bills passed or rejected.

From the question of passing health care, to mandating background checks on firearms purchased at gun shows, the stimulus bill, stem cell research, and my favorite – the fair tax act of 2009. All of which are up for voting by you, the citizens of the USA.

Signing up simply requires a name, email, zip code (to locate your politicians) and a few other fields. After you complete the signup, you simply select the bills you want to vote on, and you either give a yes, no, or don’t care. Visible Vote also provides links to news coverage of the bills (if available) along with links to the actual text, and generally plenty of user comments.

Although Visible Vote doesn’t allow you to place an official vote on Congressional bills as that’s the job of Congress, every week, the members of Congress are sent their constituents bill ratings from Visible Vote, so unlike those polls on random websites there’s a much greater chance your voice will be heard.

As mentioned earlier, Visible Vote exists as an application for the top smart phones, so when you have a minute or two to spare, you can always place a vote or two. It’s certainly much more enjoyable than waiting outside your lecture hall or class room for the room to empty out. Also, Visible Vote now allows you to make your voice heard even if you’re not able to vote in the traditional elections.

On a side note some states even require employers to provide for an hour or two of paid leave to vote in an election provided you’re working during the polling hours, however that’s a topic for your states election boards – Visible Vote provides a simple yet effective way to make your voice heard, without needing to be heavily politically active.

Also, while on the topic of elections, Visible Vote tracks how well your votes match up with those of your politicians, providing you with a percentage of “agreement,” This is an invaluable tool to help you pick who to vote for, while cutting through the mess of campaign ads, and also saves you plenty of research since everything is in one place.

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