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We profile tech companies that work on one of the five existential challenges. This week, we focused on Countable's approach to political disenfranchisement. (As always, they didn't pay us for coverage.) Subscribe if you haven't already!

Mitch McConnell, the senior Senator from Kentucky and current Senate Majority leader, has managed to do a lot with little mandate. For example, he is currently blocking a bill to make Election Day a federal holiday. He also once withheld then-President Obama's Supreme Court Justice nomination of Merrick Garland for well over a year, and helped cram through the approval of thrice-accused sexual abuser Brett Kavanaugh.

Of course, he didn't do it alone. McConnell named the Garland block the "Biden Plan" after its original 1992 author, Joe Biden. And long-time WV Democrat, Senator Joe Manchin, supported the GOP in approving Kavanaugh. Traditionally, we've exercised almost no oversight of our legislators, and we have little to begin with.

24%


of Senators oppose government transparency initiatives

63%


of Americans can't name their congressperson

>1/2


of people above voting age have never voted in a midterm

But when minority-elected Donald Trump lead the GOP in taking both houses of Congress, something snapped. We saw waves of efforts to inundate Congresspeople with calls, letters, texts, emails, and voicemails, the sheer volume of which sent PA Senator Pat Toomey into hiding from his constituents.

Around the same time, Maya Berkman, a political organizer turned tech business developer, was starting to miss feeling connected to the "why" behind her work. Knowing this, a friend pointed her to Countable: a tech platform aimed at making it quick and easy to understand the bills Congress is considering for legislation. It was Maya's first interaction with "civic tech," and she knew it was just what she was looking for.

People didn't know what their lawmakers were doing, they didn't necessarily know who their lawmakers were. These are problems that could and should be fixed.

— Maya Berkman, Senior BD Manager, Countable

So she fell back on her political activist instincts and "emailed the CEO more times than I'd care to admit, sorta pestered him" with requests to join. It worked. She started with side projects and advising the young team. She was brought on full-time as the team expanded the enterprise version of their platform for non-profits, media organizations, and major companies and brands. Today, there's an easier way to join:


Here are a few of Countable's open roles as of Sep 30, 2019:

Full Stack Engineer

Engineering | San Francisco
 

Freelance Political Journalist

Product | San Francisco or Remote
 

Client Success & Operations Assc.

Business | San Francisco
 
(and some more!)

The community Countable has built has been surprisingly strong, primarily because it's action-oriented. They give voters clear and succinct summaries of upcoming and active legislation, and the relative pros and cons of its passing. The site allows you to directly tell your legislators how to vote on those bills with one button click, and sends you follow-ups on how they voted. Being aware of what your Congressperson is doing is a big step toward creating a civically active society, but as we saw in 2016, you have to actually vote for leaders who represent your interests, which can be hard.

33%


of black men have been convicted for a felony

23


states don't give
time off to vote

114


Congresspeople serve the 10 most gerrymandered states

We have a long way to go before realizing a truly equitable American democracy, but right this minute, Countable makes it easy to get informed, stay engaged, and pester your Congressperson.

If you want to help fight political disenfranchisement, apply for a job or refer a friend!

If you're not already subscribed, click here. If you're already a subscriber, please consider forwarding to spread the word!

Project Mobilize is written and curated by Patrick Perini and Alec Davis, with special thanks to Jarett DeAngelis and Christof Rindlisbacher.

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