Engage has two building blocks: choice and layers. Choice is about letting citizens engage on their own terms. While there are a great many things that are important, letting people chose for themselves makes it more likely they will stay engaged and not become overwhelmed and disinterested.
Layers is about providing information in layers and letting people decide how much they need. This website is the concept in action. The home page gave you the overview of what Engage will do. If you came here, you wanted to find out more. At the bottom of this page is a 20 minute video that goes into even more detail. Chose your own adventure.
How It Will Work: Legislation
Citizens download the app and set up their account. Their address allows Engage to assign the correct legislators to the account and the account preferences allows the citizen to decide what he or she is interested in.
The preferences are the core of the app. If you pick, say, the environment, you'll get a text (and/or e-mail) when a new bill appears in that category. Even better, if the legislator creating the bill engages in what is called the stakeholder process, you'll get a text when the bill is being created.
A new bill gives the citizen a chance to vote yes or no on the bill (after reviewing the bill's information, which is of course layered) and provide a reason why. This vote tally is available to the legislators at all times. Citizens can also contact their legislator through the app.
At this point the citizen can be done or can sign up for more alerts on the bill, including critical moments when the bill may be in danger of failing (or passing).
How It Will Work: Elections
Engage will provide all of the basic election information, in addition to candidate bios, events, and opportunities to get more involved.
This will be up to the candidate, but the app can allow for RSVPing to events (which can sync with the citizen's calendar) as well as signing up to volunteer.
Referendums will be treated in much the same manner as bills, with yes/no votes. But Engage will also allow citizens to get involved at the signature collecting stage.
How It Will Work: Outreach
Engage will be more than just a counting tool. It is designed to foster greater interaction between legislators and their constituents. One-on-one chat sessions and virtual town halls will allow both the legislator and the citizen greater opportunity to interact with each other.