Polco applies the power of crowdsourcing to local government

By Taylor Morey, WisBusiness

polcoComing off the most fractious national election in recent memory, it’s not surprising that many people yearn for a better way to engage with citizens.

Polco is a new civic engagement site that allows citizens of many cities and counties to become more informed and educated on current issues, weigh in on public policy, and lowers the influence of money within politics. This online site provides polling policy and voter-file-verified constituent analytics to local governments around the United States.

The company was profiled as part of a new business series done this fall by UW-Madison students.

The owner of Polco, Nick Mastronardi, served in the Air Force for years before transferring to become a senior economist on the President’s Council of Economic Advisers. During the time he realized governments were having a hard time connecting with citizens. Mastronardi wanted to solve this problem and Polco was formed.

“We are trying to connect citizens with their government,” Mastronardi said. “Our goal is to generate broader and more interested civic participation. Doing that, people will become more aware of issues and be able to voice their opinions.”

Another issue that Polco hopes to alleviate is the role of money in politics. Currently, elected officials have to raise large sums of money to run campaigns and advertisements in order to be voted into office. In turn, people wonder whether these officials are representing the ideas and policies they truly believe in, or those of their representing donor.

Polco looks to solve this problem because it makes it easier for people to be involved. Educating the people of our nation will allow election decisions to be based on the quality of their representation as citizens instead of their responses and reactions to bought advertising. Read more …

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