Election Day has to be one of my favorite days of the year. There is no other day where you get to stand in line with your neighbors to express your commitment to your country and the freedom of democracy. It’s more electric than any other day (aside from the 2004 Red Sox World Series win), creating a sense of connectivity with the people we call Americans. But after the voting is done and a winner is declared there is still more that can be done by ordinary citizens.
The role of citizenship, especially in the age of the Internet, is constantly expanding to allow ordinary people – regular Joe Six-Packs – to have a voice in the political process. To be able to have that voice, people need access to the political activities that occur in between election days.
I’ve always viewed the Sunlight Foundation as providing a means for more Americans to have a voice when Congress is in session or while the next President plans their transition. The projects that we put out, the data we digitize, and the sites we support are meant to provide more information for every citizen so that they can hold their elected officials’ feet to fire well after election day. And the more information we make available, the more transparency we have in government, the more fire we have to hold under their feet.
So, vote, but don’t just vote. Election Day is the beginning of the political process, its continuation carries until the next election. There are so many resources online that can help you follow whether politicians keep their promises or how legislation that you cared about during the election is faring in Congress afterwords. Our Insanely Useful Web Sites is a great starting point for places to track what’s going on in government and who is trying to influence your elected officials.