Voices for Democracy
“Let’s use the power of technology to connect people, not to divide them.”
Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson

More voices build a better democracy

Democracy isn’t something that happens every four years on election day. We build a healthy democracy when elected officials are in constant communication with the people they represent. When citizens share their perspectives, decision makers can more effectively create laws that represent their constituents’ views. In fact, it is widely reported that a phone call has more influence on our lawmakers than any other channel.

But roadblocks prevent people from expressing their views to lawmakers. Citizens either don’t know who to call, get a busy signal, or never learn what happens after the call is completed. Twilio believes we can do better.

If you’d like to get involved, email team@twilio.org.

Twilio is committed to powering 100 million connections between people and their representatives.

Get Involved

Twilio believes in the power of communications to bridge divides and bring people together.

Voices for Democracy is an initiative that combines the power of organizations and developers to advance the discourse between citizens and elected officials. Twilio’s communication platform is already being used to build a more representative democracy through the work of innovative technology partners like MobileCommons, Phone2Action and CallPower. And we can do more. Twilio is committed to powering 100 million connections between people and their representatives through the Voices for Democracy initiative.

Twilio is organizing projects that designers and developers can volunteer to work on. Builders can email team@twilio.org to volunteer to participate.

Initial projects we’re organizing

Example Project 1: Help people see the impact of their calls

Build a visualization showing which representatives are receiving calls and when volume is spiking. Include a way to show calls tied to specific campaigns and issues. This visualization will help show that one call can make a difference when it is a part of a larger movement.  Collective action can be seen, positively reinforcing the behavior.

Example Project 2: Help people raise their voices and elected officials to act on that input

Organizations can encourage people to call a number, which is forwarded to their representatives. Even if the representative’s number is busy, that phone call through Twilio is logged, and we display the data on how many calls have been generated around specific campaigns and causes. For instance, we could show that 100K calls are logged from numbers associated with organizations that are “pro” a cause and 5K calls are logged from numbers associated with organizations that are “against” a cause. Then the organizations can keep representatives accountable to vote according to the voices of their constituents.  

This project helps citizens know what happens after they make a call, and helps their voices be heard even if the representatives’ offices aren’t able to answer all the calls. Displaying the data helps keep representatives accountable to the views of their constituents on specific causes.

Example Project 3: Help representatives hear their constituents’ voices

Work with representatives’ offices to build a call tool to absorb the overflow when their phone lines can’t handle the traffic. When the line is busy, it forwards to a voicemail, then that voicemail is transcribed and provided to the representative’s office. This helps solve how Congressional phone systems have a hard time handling a big spike in democratic participation.

Have an idea? Already working on something? Email team@twilio.org


Voices for Democracy in the News:

 

“Let’s try to use our power of technology to connect people, not to divide them.” – Jeff Lawson

“The most important thing you can do is to tell your representatives what you believe…” – Jeff Lawson

“Lawson encouraged entrepreneurs to take responsibility for their technology.”

 

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