Say, you're a constituent, and you've got a bone to pick with a point of view of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. Or you live in Wisconsin and Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., could really help you out. You write a Change.org petition and post it to the popular website. And then you wait.
From the site's inception there hasn't been a way for lawmakers to easily look up who was petitioning them and respond. "We weren't giving them an easy way to see what their constituents were talking about," explained Megan Lubin, Change.org's communications manager. But on Wednesday, Change.org introduced a new platform – Change.org for Decision Makers – which will allow lawmakers from all levels of government (and, later, corporations) to see what's going on and write back.
Lawmakers will receive verified accounts – like they do on Twitter – but in the Change.org world verification means access to good data. A member, or his or her congressional staffer, will be able to see where petitions originated and how many people in the member's district signed on. Members of Congress, or other politicians, signed up for the special accounts would then be able to respond. "They'd be able to weigh in directly and make sure their position on the issue was broadcasted," explained Lubin.
The new features came about because lawmakers often approached Change.org asking to be put in touch with petition authors. Now, lawmakers will be able to do this themselves.
So far, Ryan and Warren have both signed on for verified accounts, along with Reps. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., Henry Waxman, D-Calif., and Mike Honda, D-Calif., with more to come.
"It's one more way to make government accountable to the people, and I'm proud to join the effort," Ryan said in a statement.