November is still months away, and things are only going to get more heated as the 2016 race barrels onward. We’ve got the apps to get you through one of the toughest election seasons in recent memory.
Whether the 2016 presidential election is the first one you’ll be voting in or the tenth, it is one of the most unusual to date. The near constant barrage of information — and misinformation — being sent back and forth on both traditional and social media, it can feel impossible to determine who (and what) you’re supposed to vote for.
Luckily, there’s an app for that — or rather, there are dozens of apps for that. Here are the best smartphone tools to help you get through all remaining stages of this year’s election.
The first app on our list isn’t actually an app at all — instead, it harnesses the engaging power of text messaging to spread information.
Initially launched as a political website and newsletter, according to Neiman Lab, Purple is changing the game of political coverage by using text to update its users. Co-founder Rebecca Harris said the goal of Purple is to be fun and conversational while remaining neutral and accurate. The texts are for the most part automated and interactive, allowing users to respond with certain keywords to learn more about a specific event or candidate. They include quotes from the candidates, delegate math, and further links to outside sources.
The Voting App
Created by ThinkVoting, a company devoted “to completely transform the way we all participate in a modern democracy,” the Voting App™ compiles scattered information in one sleek, searchable interface, making it easier for users to make more informed decisions.
The app was initially launched in Texas for local elections and is now expanding into other states, curating sources specific to local municipalities — from info on candidates, to measures on the ballot, to polling locations. The Voting App™ covers the “Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How for every election,” including the one we’re seeing unfold today.
Congress in Your Pocket
Congress in Your Pocket is a comprehensive political directory, giving users access to up-to-date information on members of Congress and how to contact them. The app collects the data into downloadable spreadsheets, and the developers have built similar applications for state legislatures and governors. Congress in Your Pocket provides basic information on all representatives, contact info, members of staff, legislative activity (committees and subcommittees), and campaign information.
Whether you’re working on Capitol Hill or are a part-time activist working on the grassroots level, Congress in Your Pocket is a must-have.
Focusing on potential laws being considered by Congress, Countable distills the bills into language us laypeople can easily understand. The app also gives users voice their opinions on the bills will a simple click on “Yea” or “Nay” that is passed on to the lawmakers. You can see how representatives vote on a particular issue, as well as their opinions on relevant and trending issues. Follow the presidential candidate’s profiles on the site to learn about their views and voting history, and make your voice heard on opinion boards.
icitizen connects its users to elected officials, relevant organizations, and other government officials to affect meaningful change in communities across the United States. The app lets you send feedback directly to representatives, sends you updates on relevant issues, news, and polls, and helps you engage other members of your community on the topics most important to you. icitizen gets you involved in ways most other apps can’t, from customizable polls to open and transparent communication.
Whether or not it’s an election year, staying informed and active in the political sphere is essential to promote the changes you want to see. Apps are a great way to engage your community and rally around a particular issue or cause. These are all excellent resources to use when doing your civic duty, but if you need to get your neighbors fellow citizens mobilized, the best app might be one you build yourself.