Best. Voter info tool. Ever.
I have no idea how I could've possibly missed this little tool called MegaVote. In my search for resources to battle the Roberts nomination, this little gem appeared on my radar, and it does everything but wash the dishes, I swear.
Whenever I'm talking to folks about activism, or how to get involved in everyday politics (versus the every-four-years kind that fails miserably every time), I remind them that we live in something called a participatory democracy. Key word here is "participate." That doesn't mean just showing up at the voting booth in November, even if you do it every year faithfully if only to vote for your town dogcatcher.
It's like this: you hire your representatives for a job, right? They're hired to represent you. So, it's your job to be the boss and keep tabs on them, check in with them, and give them guidance. Imagine if you had a job where your boss only checked in on you every two or four years, and all you had to do to keep your job was look at her and say, "I'm doing a fine job." Wouldn't you mess around the rest of the time, too? (I would. Shhhhh.)
My dad, who's a conservative libertarian, taught me this lesson without even knowing it as a kid. He followed what was going on regularly just by reading the news every night, and I remember him calling up the various senators and representatives pretty often. He did this so much that they knew the sound of his voice when he called. "I'd like to leave a message for the Senator," he'd said. Invariably, they'd reply with: "How ya doin', Mr. Zandt?"
So, back to MegaVote. Go there, and do a search for who all your representatives are; it's helpful if you have your ZIP+4 handy. Then you can sign up to be emailed every week a short summary of how your representatives recently voted, what votes are coming up, and links to their contact info so that you can weigh in with them. It's that simple. I got my first one last night, and for a junkie like me, it was bliss. I sent it to my dad, who also signed up last night. We'll see which one of us calls those New York senators more in the next few weeks.