Arizona Voices, an innovative electronic platform to encourage civic engagement, was unveiled at the state capitol today by Secretary of State Ken Bennett and state Senator Bob Worsley. Arizona is the first state in the US to host a website of this kind. On www.azvoices.gov, registered voters are allowed to vote on bills in the legislature and discuss the issues impacting our state with fellow Arizonans and elected officials.
Developed by MindMixer, an Omaha-based civic engagement technology company, Arizona Voices was built to provide greater access for voters to engage in the legislative process.
"Arizona Voices was created to allow people living in remote areas or who don't have time to attend committee meetings at the legislature to participate in the process of discussing public policy," said Secretary Bennett. "Coming down to the capitol to personally express your thoughts and concerns on bills can be extremely inconvenient for most people who are working and going about their daily lives. This unique platform offers voters a chance to express their opinions without fighting traffic in Phoenix."
Registered Arizona voters can rate bills on a scale from Strongly Approve to Strongly Disapprove and legislators can see how public opinion is trending on any bill in real time. With this new approach we will create a new channel for ideas to come to the legislature from the citizens who have concern about the vision and future of the state.
"AZ Voices is a place where — for the first time in any state in the country — you can have a direct say in the laws of our state online," said Senator Worsley. "We invite voters to weigh in on the bills proposed in the state legislature, show their support for the bills they favor, and express concern about the ones they don’t. On the Ideas Page, people can propose solutions to the problems they think a new law could address. Arizona Voices is new platform whose time has come, and we believe this will be a platform to discuss and resolve policy issues. "
“Residents have informed and unique perspectives about the things they interact with in their communities, so it makes absolute sense for them to be involved in the legislation around those things," said Nick Bowden, CEO of MindMixer. “In our work with local governments around the country, we've seen time after time that while people care and want to be involved, there are too many barriers to participation. Today, the State of Arizona is making a great stride in removing those barriers with the launch of its collaborative legislation site on our platform, and we’re very excited to see how it all turns out."