How Members of Congress Use GovTrack

Members of Congress nowadays use numerous tools to inform the voting public about their opinions and activities. They tweet, post on Facebook, and send email updates. And they also use GovTrack, in a variety of ways.

Some Members take advantage of the feeds our site offers, and embed them as a widget on their webpage. Reps. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and Marcia Fudge (D-OH), for example, display their voting record using GovTrack’s feed of role call votes.

Many representatives provide links to GovTrack for bills they have introduced or cosponsored. Thus, Rep. Janice Hahn (D-CA) and Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-KS) have linked to GovTrack in their press releases, while Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA) and Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) have linked to the site in online summaries of their legislative work.

However, what Members of Congress use GovTrack for more than anything else is our district maps. These zoomable maps, based on data from the U.S. Census and reflecting the most recent round of redistricting, are featured on more than 70 official websites of Members of Congress, such as Reps. Michael Capuano (D-MA) and Blake Farenthold (R-TX). The maps allow voters to verify that they belong to a particular lawmaker’s district and see what else the Congressional district includes at an unparalleled level of detail.

We tend to think of ordinary citizens as the primary target audience of GovTrack, whose goal is to enable them to find out and understand what their representatives are up to. But by using the site’s tools, Members of Congress are also helping us achieve this goal.

This post was written by GovTrack’s director of communications Aviad Eilam.

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