Inform the Texas electorate by putting politicians' campaign finance records next to their voting records in one succinct, mobile platform.
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README.md

Influence Texas has launched! Checkout the live webapp at https://app.influencetexas.com/

Find more information at https://www.influencetexas.com/

Welcome & Project Summary

Welcome! We’re so glad you’ve found your way to INFLUENCE TX. This project was started at ATX Hack for Change June 2-4, 2017 by Amy M. Mosley, a former investigative reporter who was frustrated by a fruitless search for fact-based, unbiased sources for information during the toxic 2016 election cycle. In 2017 all ATX Hack for Change projects were aligned with United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This project falls under Goal 16: Promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies.

The premise is this, Politicians lie. And usually, they do whatever they get paid to do. You need to know: Who is paying them? How are they voting as a result? By linking lawmakers’ campaign finance records to their voting records, taxpayers can track the influence of money in the Texas political process.

In this era of political polarization and biased news sources, people are craving information and hard facts. INFLUENCE TX empowers citizens to do their own research and figure who their politicians are really serving.

We invite all those who participate in INFLUENCE TX to help us create safe and positive experiences for everyone, while maintaining a robust sense of humor. Please read our CODE_OF_CONDUCT.md and MANIFESTO before you proceed further.

"The cornerstone of democracy rests on the foundation of an educated electorate." - Thomas Jefferson


Purpose

Informing the Texas electorate.

Project Vision

INFLUENCE TX puts campaign finance records next to voting records so taxpayers can track the influence of money in the Texas state political process. This is the only product people can use to find out who paid off their Texas state politicians and how they voted as a result.

For citizens interested in Texas state government who need an unbiased source they can use to determine what their politicians are really doing.

This product is a mobile-first responsive web app (with an advanced-user desktop version planned for future releases) that puts campaign finance and voting records in a usable format so citizens can see how money is influencing the political process

Unlike product like FollowTheMoney.org, which offers no explanation of (1) where they got their data (2) how “fresh” it is (3) matching methodology of associating certain monetary donations with certain industry segments, and also does not offer voting records

Manifesto

Three ITX team members are in Mozilla Open Leaders Training Program. The principles that guide the INFLUENCE TX mission to provide information that creates transparency in government are those of The Mozilla Manifesto. Principle No. 10 is particularly relevant: “Magnifying the public benefit aspects of the Internet is an important goal, worthy of time, attention and commitment.”

  • INFLUENCE TX a nonpartisan, open source project devoted to developing a research tool that empowers citizens with varying degrees of technical skill to be their own reporters -- they don’t have to wait for a biased gatekeeper to give them the news.
  • INFLUENCE TX will never advocate for or affiliate itself with a political party.
  • INFLUENCE TX is an inclusive organization that welcomes people of all political persuasions -- including Democrats, Republicans, and independents.
  • We advocate for curiosity over judgment. We are dedicated to sound research. In so doing, we are courageous and willing to have our own views and opinions challenged by facts and new ways of looking at the world. We are willing to be surprised.
  • We seek greater understanding of those around us.
  • We pledge to value people as human beings and to foster an atmosphere of kindness, cooperation, and understanding.
  • A primary goal of INFLUENCE TX is to be inclusive to the largest number of contributors, with the most varied and diverse backgrounds possible.

Reason

Voting drives are nice, but getting uninformed people to cast ballots is not helping anyone. Voters need a quick, user-friendly way to tell who a politician really is.

Who has the time to search for hours and hours through newspapers and online articles in the (possibly vain) hope of finding unbiased information on each and every candidate?

Voters need to know:

  1. whose money has the potential to influence a politician (campaign finance records).
  2. how the politician voted (voting records).

By putting these two pieces of information together in a succinct mobile platform, we can turn uninformed voters into informed voters.

Contributing

All participants should read the Influence Texas Code of Conduct prior to engaging with the team and contributing on the product. View the work needed for our upcoming milestone.

Development

For instructions on getting started with development, go to src/README.rst.