Political Startup Simpolfy.com Kicks Off Crowdfunding Campaign.
Using a questionnaire, Simpolfy determines a user’s political profile. Legislation is broken down into easily digestible points that are then scored based on the issues they pertain to. Through a series of evolving algorithms, it determines the user’s level of support for legislation and compares that to their representative’s voting record.
Voters are empowered by relying on hard data in the format of a “report card,” with easily digestible graphs to show how incumbents have voted on legislation and whether those votes represented their views.
The site also alerts users if there is legislation that pertains to issues about which they are passionate. Users can then click to ask their representative to vote for or against the bill. Every election cycle, the user will be given a report card on their representative, which tells them how often they voted in line with the way the user clicked.
CEO and co-founder, Sanjaya Punyasena, developed the idea for Simpolfy in 2013 soon after the Sandy Hook shootings and the rollout of the Affordable Care Act. Punyasena was frustrated with the inability of politicians to find ways to compromise and prevent another tragedy from occurring, while also finding it extremely difficult to get an understanding about all the different elements of the legislation.
“I wanted a way to easily see what I was for in a bill, and what I was against,” said Punyasena. “Working a full-time job prevents me from having the time to read the legislation myself, and the media was very biased one way or another. I also wanted a better way to contact my representative rather than writing or calling them. I avoid phone calls unless necessary and I cannot even remember the last time I wrote a letter. Why are we expected to use these outdated forms of communication?”
Through collaboration with co-founder Brad Mahaffey, a product professional with 15 years of technology-based startup experience, as well as a third team member, a web developer with ten years of senior web development experience, the Simpolfy concept began to coalesce.
In addition to its candidate and bill matching features, Simpolfy, through a verification system, will distinguish between users that are actual constituents in a representatives region and those that are not. This dramatically increases the value of a vote in support or opposition of a bill to their elected representative. Simpolfy will engage representatives through this unique and valuable data. Representatives can login and view their constituency’s opinions on bills.
“The potential for change is revolutionary,” said Punyasena. “Later down the road, we will start asking users to give us their opinions on third-rail issues that have been considered too dangerous for politicians to touch. We can then show representatives where exactly their constituents are willing to compromise, and lay down the framework for legislation that has the potential to make it through both houses.”