Three apps to help you understand and engage with your government

Columnist: Bayley Baker is a senior studying mass media and political science. The goal of this column is to mobilize and inspire Washburn students by educating them on politics.

Becoming a more politically active citizen is as important as ever with the 2020 election quickly approaching. ​Rather than trying to sift through the polarized mess that is social media right now, you might find it more productive to try out these political apps. They let you inform yourself about real issues, see who your representatives are and how they’re voting and get in touch with them to actually make your voice heard.

Here are three apps you can conveniently download on your phone to help you understand and engage with government and politics.

Countable.​ This app is great for connecting with your representatives and holding them accountable for their actions. ​Countable lets you see what issues they’re voting on, and how they’ve voted in the past. It also makes it easy to see the laws Congress is considering at any given time. The app also seeks to give citizens a greater voice in national politics by letting you instantly send emails to your reps, telling them how you would like them to vote.

Politico.​ Politico is a news app that updates you on the latest political news while you’re on the go. You can turn on notifications for phone alerts when major news breaks or developments happen in the political world. In addition to the latest news, you can find in-depth editorial and opinion pieces.

5 Calls.​ This app makes it easy to contact your representatives by providing you with the tools you need to call them, including their phone numbers and easy-to-read scripts. Calling is the most effective way to influence your representatives, and 5 Calls allows you to do just that.

In the face of the big, complicated issues confronting our country, it's easy to feel overwhelmed and helpless. Keeping one of these apps in your pocket can help remind you that you always have a voice — and help you use it to speak out for what you believe in.

Edited by Jada Johnson, Brianna Smith, Jessica Galvin 

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