The HEROES Act

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought some unexpected challenges to the United States and to the world as a whole. The number of Americans who have filed an initial unemployment claim in the last 9 weeks has reached 38.6 Million, meaning an average of over 4.29 Million per week. For reference, the average number of initial weekly claims in 2019 was in the low 200,000s (1). During these tough times, there have been several pieces of legislation that are aimed at granting funding to a majority of people in this country as well as several other sectors of government.

The latest national legislation is an 1800+ page bill called the HEROES act. This $3 trillion bill aims to open the economy, honor our heroes, and send money to Americans. This piece of legislation has already been passed by the house of representatives and is awaiting debate within the senate. The general consensus is that this bill will need renegotiation before it is able to pass. 

The HEROES act funding focuses on government support, health care, business, and worker and individual support (2). Click this link and look at pages 1-11 for a concise cost breakdown of this bill. At WeVote we are especially interested in the portions regarding changes and funding to the 2020 election.

At WeVote, we believe that every voter should be able to vote in a manner that is convenient and safe for them. That is why we have been working on a new program called Operation WeVote. The goal of this program is to make it as easy as possible for as many people as possible to vote with a strong emphasis on mail-in voting with no cost to voters. The HEROES act has multiple provisions regarding how we are going to be able to vote during this election cycle. 

If the current version of the HEROES act is passed, every eligible voter in America would be able to vote by mail with prepaid postage. On top of this, these mail in ballots would need to be requestable online either by printing and sending a completed form digitally (You can also mail these in or hand them in in person), or completing a request form completely online(3). That means that you would not need to leave your house in order to vote. For those that would rather vote in person, there is no need to worry, as the bill would increase election funding, from $400 Million to $4 Billion overall, to be used for maintaining safe in-person voting as well as expanding voting by mail. Click this link on pages 71-76 for a complete list of the elections provisions as well as others. Whether or not the bill is passed or changed, WeVote is dedicated to ensuring that voters are given all of the resources available to them.

Operation WeVote is underway and we are working with all 50 states and DC to make your voting experience easier and safer. Depending on your state, WeVote will even offer to pay for your postage to send in an absentee ballot request. We will have more information about Operation WeVote shortly!

During these important times, it is crucial to stay up to date on the legislation that is under review. We are working to provide the most efficient platform, to ensure that your opinions and questions are heard by your representatives. There is still much to be discussed about the HEROES act but we are hopeful that mail-in voting with prepaid postage will be expanded to all eligible voters!

 

Sources

 

  1. https://www.cnn.com/2020/05/21/economy/unemployment-benefits-coronavirus/index.html 
  2. https://www.natlawreview.com/article/heroes-act-policy-overview-and-political-prospects-latest-covid-19-relief-bill
  3. https://appropriations.house.gov/sites/democrats.appropriations.house.gov/files/documents/Heroes%20Act%20Summary.pdf

Welcome Ian Goheen to WeVote

My name is Ian, and I am the newest member of WeVote. I am truly excited for what we are going to do for society as whole and for communities of all sizes. Before I go in depth about why I wholeheartedly support WeVote, I’d like to give a little background on me. 

I am a Lincoln, Nebraska native and I have lived here all my life. I have always had an interest in politics and my political involvement peaked my senior year of high school during the 2016 primaries. I volunteered with my cousin who was in charge of the primary in our district, and it really gave me insight on how our political process works. Watching real people discuss issues that were important to them with other community members really inspired me. 

 

My political interest did not stop there. My freshman year of college at UNL I wrote a paper about political polarization, and the problems we faced having conversations about politics after the 2016 presidential election. It talked about echo-chambers, and internet trolls, and how propaganda ruined the way we had disagreements. Social media had become a tool for causing fabricated noise and stirring drama. 

 

The burnout from the most toxic election cycle in history curbed my interest in politics. I mean how could we have any productive output, when we aren’t even able to have productive input. I continued to think about this from a psychological perspective for years. People are scared to get involved in politics, because they do not have a good way of sharing their voice that allows for real, productive conversations. Americans feel voiceless in the system that is supposed to work for them. 

 

After all this time spent thinking to myself, I met WeVote’s CEO, Andy, after I met him last year and he told me more about WeVote’s mission to engage, educate and empower every citizen to have an equal voice in our government.  As a 19 year old college student, I was extremely interested to hear him talk about entrepreneurship and starting his own organization. Over the past year, we have spent countless hours discussing WeVote and how it could completely change our current political climate. Eventually I decided to stop taking classes because I realized that there are many different paths to making important changes. 

 

I believe WeVote to be one of the most important changes that we can make. If you are wondering why I’m here now, it is because I truly believe that WeVote can make a WORLDWIDE positive impact. WeVote offers a solution to all of the problems I was discussing before. We are a platform where real voters can discuss with real voters. We are a platform that makes it easier for representatives to see how their constituents truly feel about important issues. We are a platform that allows easy methods to improve political transparency across the board. WeVote is nothing short of a political revolution. 

 

The path forward is clear and there is plenty of work to be done. I’m so excited to provide this public service for the people, and I’m excited to turn this dream into a reality. 

 

Ian Goheen

Data & Research Manager

WeVote

Columbus, OH Event

WEVOTE® FOR AMERICA  

Inaugural Weekend at Ohio State University 

In the annals of American politics, Ohio has long been a bellwether state – one whose voting trends in Presidential elections have represented the leanings of the country’s overall electorate. Since 1896, the Buckeye State has only deviated from the choosing the winner twice – and currently has the longest perfect streak. Ohio has also historically been a hotbed of student political activism, with the Kent State shootings in 1970 becoming a focal point of a nation deeply divided by the Vietnam War.

All of which makes Ohio State University the perfect setting for the inaugural WeVote® Democracy Week in September 2020, just over 2 months before the 2020 election. The first of many events set to take place on key college campuses across the country, WeVote® For America is a real world extension of WeVote®, a groundbreaking online platform designed to give every citizen insider access to their government, along with the power to change it. It eliminates the main barrier to entry for most people to participate in their public institutions in a meaningful way. The site encourages health debate, allowing voters to come together in a safe space to build consensus on legislation, media and ongoing issues facing our country. A secure validation system ensures that every user is a real person and registered voter.

The WeVote® Weekend events are designed like town hall meetings, where important local and national issues are discussed by the people attending live  while potentially thousands of others participate via streaming using digital technologies. The live events will feature a series of guest speakers and issue/policy specialized panels, while those participating online can be part of regional breakout discussions that happen throughout the day. These WeVote® for America events, a prime example of “democracy powered by technology,” are designed to show people how to use the platform to begin their involvement in the political process immediately.

In the afternoon, there will be various smaller non-partisan discussions, dedicated to issues specific to local, regional and state concerns, including measures that will appear on the Ohio ballot in November. There will be four (or more) workshops, or tracks, dedicated to different issues on the ballot, using music and film to punctuate speeches and discussions. The idea is to encourage thoughtful analyses and exchanges about today’s crucial issues and how they affect the lives of the state’s citizens. Saturday will conclude with a live concert and rally in the evening. Sunday will be a full day of activism, also open to all who want to participate in the ongoing tracks and discussions therein – Democrats, Republicans, third party members, political independents and those with no party affiliation. All WeVote® Weekends are organized by volunteers and political activists from across the political spectrum – the majority of which are college students and millennials.

WeVote®’s Mission and Vision

Improving the intelligence that goes into the formation of public policy and the functioning of our democracy.

Imagine for a moment, that you are an elected official, maybe a state senator, Congressman or mayor.

And an issue has come up in which you don’t necessarily have all the facts about the matter, and the clock is ticking on a vote or a decision you have to make regarding the policy that will impact your entire district and beyond.

Now this is a very contentious issue, people on all sides of the debate are passionate and loud and you are getting phone calls, and emails and your social media is blowing up from all sorts of people who are trying to sway you in one way or another to make a decision they want.

You’re just not sure what the answer should be, so what do you do?

Well, traditionally, you have some trusted sources, maybe some lobbyists or academics who can fill you in on the matter, but the truth is you don’t know.

But none of these resources has any clue as to how your constituents feel.

How do you engage with the hundreds or thousands of emails, calls and social media posts you are getting?

More importantly, how do you know who is actually a constituent, vs who is not?

This scenario happens every day in public offices around the country, and traditionally, at best, these elected officials take information down on a spreadsheet for record keeping, and at worst, they completely ignore the incoming communications because there is no way to know who is actually sending them.

It is because of the ambiguity of these messages that they are virtually worthless and contribute nothing to the actual decision-making process a politician will make. This dilemma is the key reason the internet has yet to solve the ongoing crisis of confidence the people have in their government, and it’s the root cause of much of the corruption in politics.

It’s not because politicians don’t care. Rather, it’s because they have no better way for making decisions than to ask a small number of insiders what they think.

You see, when it comes to politics, access is everything.

And the anonymity of emails, social media and phone calling your representatives is the main roadblock to making an impact on their decisions.

WeVote was started in 2012 by a small group of diverse activists from democratic, republican and independent backgrounds after they realized there was a need to better way to connect citizens with their elected representatives online.

Our mission is to help politicians better understand who their various constituencies are online so they can represent them better.

We have developed a unique platform for voters to come together and build consensus on legislation, media and ongoing issues facing our society that is protected from trolls and spammers by validating our users as 100% real registered voters.

The WeVote platform is a new kind of distributed model of crowdsourcing sentiment that is protected from the noise of the web, giving clear signals to elected officials everywhere on how exactly their constituents are feeling about any issue.

We leverage mobile technology, public data and voter enthusiasm to produce tools that provide transparency, insight and access to the public policy process for anyone who wants to make an impact on their world.

Want to be part of the solution?

Sign up here for updates on upcoming events!

 

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