Voice Of the People (VOP) is a nonpartisan organization working to re-anchor our democracy in its founding principles by giving ‘We the People’ a greater and more effective voice in government.
VOP champions innovative methods and technology – notably online public consultations – that enable the American people to play a role in the policymaking process and provide policymakers with a more accurate understanding of the views of their constituents.
Consulting the Public and Revealing Common Ground
Although there is a prevailing perception among many that the public must be as divided and polarized as Congress, public consultation surveys have already revealed substantial common ground that exists among Americans, with both majorities of Democrats and majorities of Republicans, agreeing on over 200 significant federal policy proposals.
VOP partners with the University of Maryland’s Program for Public Consultation (PPC), which conducts public consultations nationally, and in states and districts, to analyze and disseminate public consultation survey findings. Public consultation surveys are conducted online with large representative samples who go through policymaking simulations designed to put people in the shoes of policymakers. The content of each simulation is reviewed by proponents and opponents of the proposals to ensure that the briefings are accurate and balanced and the arguments are the strongest ones being made. The policymaking simulation is then fielded online as a survey with a large representative sample of citizens. Findings are released to the media and reported to Members of Congress and the Executive Branch.
Engaging Members of Congress
VOP works to engage Members of Congress in the public consultation process, creating opportunities for them to listen to their constituents using public consultations in their states and districts. To introduce representatives to public consultation, VOP and PPC have organized and conducted numerous public consultations in specific districts. Public consultation surveys are run with a large representative sample of constituents in the state or district. A forum is held with the Member and some of the constituents who took the survey, and the survey findings are revealed to the representative, the media and constituents. The MoC and constituents engage in a moderated discussion about the topic and findings.