As a foundational element of our democracy, accountability is often talked about but rarely put into action. When present, our elected officials are responsible to the people they represent in the highest degree possible. When absent, the integrity and stability of our government is threatened. The power of our government resides in the hands of the people, not the government itself. As such, the people leverage their power over government through a single action – the ballot box. Unfortunately, people often lack the necessary information to make informed and engaged decisions during elections. By ensuring all Wyoming’s people have access to information on the issues most affecting them and the future of our state, we can hold our elected officials accountable to the decisions they make through our vision.
Before a legislative website existed in Wyoming, it was nearly impossible for Wyoming’s people to find vote records from the State Legislature. The Equality State Policy Center aimed to improve this lack of accessibility by creating the Legislative Accountability Project, an extensive volume of every vote recorded during each legislative session. While this was a great resource, unfortunately, it was only utilized by those willing to dig through a behemoth document and who were at the Capitol on a daily basis anyways.
Two decades later, we now have a legislative website yet a large disconnect between Wyoming’s people and the decisions being made by those they elect still exists. We want to bridge this gap by launching The People’s Review – a streamlined, digestible version of our old accountability project that connects you with the governmental decisions most affecting your life and the future of our state by enhancing transparency and accessibility.
A representative democracy only functions when the decisions of our elected officials are accessible to you, the people they represent. Our future is dependent on informed and engaged voters like you in order to hold our elected officials accountable to their decisions. To do so, you need to have accessible voting records throughout all levels of Wyoming’s government.
The People’s Review is a tool for you to understand our elected official’s values and vision for Wyoming, while placing the power of government back in your hands. Through this project, we want to inspire you to learn more about governmental process and to ignite discourse between you and our elected officials.
This year, The People’s Review highlights how each Wyoming legislator voted on select bills from the 2017 General Legislative Session. These bills were chosen by our coalition to represent the issues most relevant to our vision for Wyoming.
While vote records are typically indicative of where legislators stand on issues, they might not grasp the complexity of their votes. Legislators often vote for or against a bill for a variety of reasons that may extend beyond the initial purpose of the legislation. We encourage you to contact your legislator to have a conversation on the intentions behind their decision and your own perspective.
Engage, ask questions, stay informed, and remember, there is nothing more powerful in our democracy than your voice.
The ESPC is proud to present The People’s Review to you, our coalition members, and our elected officials. Join us in celebrating this project by signing up for updates on our work and supporting our efforts.