Public Consultations in Districts & States

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD-8) engages with constituents at a public consultation event on Government Reform.

Voice of the People (VOP) partners with the Program for Public Consultation (PPC) to conduct public consultations in specific districts and states with Members of Congress. Representatives and their congressional offices are invited to take part in a public consultation in their district or state. Congressional offices have the opportunity to choose the policy proposal to be tested.  

Public consultation surveys are then run with a large representative sample of constituents in the state/district — using a policymaking simulation on a policy issue before Congress. Members of Congress can either be briefed directly on the informed views of their constituents or convene a forum with the constituents who went through the process and also engage in a moderated discussion.

If a Member of Congress agrees to participate in a public consultation forum, then: 

  • Media and local organizations invite constituents in the state/district to go through the simulation.
  • Once the data is gathered and analyzed, a forum is held with the representative and some of the constituents who took the survey. 
  • The survey findings are revealed to the Member of Congress, the media and constituents.
  • The Member of Congress and constituents engage in a moderated discussion about the topic and the findings.
  • The findings and the event itself are reported in the local media.

These public consultations with Members of Congress continue to make an impact. After completing the forum, participants have been surveyed: 

  • 90% said public consultations help policy makers understand their constituents’ views.
  • Nearly 80% said such events can help our country become less polarized.
  • 90% would encourage others to participate.
  • One-third said the process caused them to reconsider their policy stances.
  • All participating Members of Congress were interviewed and expressed very positive views of the process and a readiness to do more consultations.
  • Media coverage was extensive, favorable, and complimentary to the Congressperson for engaging in the process.

Policymaking simulations used in forums with Members of Congress are developed and fielded by the Program for Public Consultation at the University of Maryland, and have been reviewed by experts across the political spectrum to ensure that the briefings are accurate and balanced and are the strongest ones being made in Congress.

Examples of Public Consultation Events with Members of Congress

In partnership with local media and civic organizations, VOP has convened numerous events – in-person and online – with Members of Congress and their constituents.