Writing to your legislator used to actually mean…well, writing to your legislator. Then it meant emailing. Now the state of Washington is taking things one step further by letting people write to their lawmakers by commenting directly on a piece of proposed legislation.
The system asks for a commenter’s address and then uses that information to send a copy of the comment to his or her state representative, according to a Seattle Times story.
The new system is part of a much wider trend of using new digital and social tools to better include citizens in the lawmaking process.
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., has posted a number of Internet Freedom-focused bills on Keepthewebopen’s experimental Madison tool, which allows users to comment on specific bill sections and suggest alternative language. The system operates similar to tracked changes in a Microsoft Word document. The tiny nation of Iceland even crowdsourced parts of its new constitution.