Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »
A Search Engine for Congress
September 8th, 2016 by Susan Smith
The computer can show you how one senator has co-sponsored more bills of a Senate Majority Leader than any other senator over a period of years. It can also show you who has the best record of getting bills out of committee – information that took years in the making to obtain ten years ago. Today, with a dashboard platform called Quorum Analytics, a startup developed a year ago by two then-Harvard undergraduates, Alex Wirth and Jonathan Marks, customers can have this information at their fingertips for far less time and money.
Quorum is a web search tool for Congress like Google is for web searches. According to Alex Wirth, Co-founder of Quorum, Quorum is Washington’s next generation legislative strategy platform providing unique quantitative insights into the U.S. Congress. Co-founder and technical lead Jonathan Marks said, “We built Quorum to put all the information you need about Congress and the 50 state legislatures directly at your fingertips directly integrated with powerful outreach and grassroots engagement tools that will change the way you approach the legislative process.”
Certainly their introduction into the marketplace is timely, as we routinely watch what is going on in Congress and the state legislatures, hoping to find some answers as to the ongoing legislative process. Some industry watchers say Quorum and others like it are changing the face of lobbying.
The platform is divided up into Quorum Federal, Quorum State and Quorum Grassroots.
Features of Quorum Federal include:
Track Legislation and Dialogue
Search and track every bill, vote, press release, Dear Colleague letter, social media post, and more and receive custom email alerts to stay ahead.
Expand Your Legislative Coalition
Identify who Members work with most frequently and who the most active, effective, and influential members are in any issue area to quickly find champions and potential cosponsors.
Personalize Your Outreach
Automatically log meetings with members and their staff and send personalized emails to staff to give an update, make an ask, or share an event.
Features of Quorum State include:
Designed to empower your state legislative affairs team with advanced analytics, powerful tracking, and robust management tools.
Automatically Track Legislation and Social Media Posts
Quickly access and visually monitor the most comprehensive database of state legislative bills, committee votes, tweets, and Facebook posts.
Comprehensive Profiles On Every State Legislator
Generate customizable profiles of legislators that include their most active issues, most frequent collaborators, industry background, educational history, and more.
Stay on top of every draft
Bill text comparison allows you to effortlessly highlight additions, subtractions, and modifications to every bill so you never miss a thing.
Quorum Grassroots is seamlessly integrated with Quorum Federal and Quorum State and designed for your success and includes:
Simple Interface to Increase Engagement
Enable your supporters to write, call, or tweet federal and state legislators from any device.
Powerful Analytical Tools
Quickly discover your most active supporters, measure impact by district, and enable your government affairs team to share moving stories from your advocates.
Launch and Send Beautiful Email Campaigns
Use Quorum’s templates or design your own email campaign to share information with your supporters and encourage them to take action.
GISCafe Voice interviewed Alex Wirth about this unique legislative strategy platform and how it is shaping the understanding of our government process today.
GISCafe Voice: How do you create a “data-driven political insight?”
Featuring interactive visualizations, up-to-date statistics, and comprehensive congressional data including bills, votes, tweets, press releases, constituent emails, and floor statements, Quorum equips users with the tools they need to navigate the legislative process in a sortable, searchable, and easy-to-use format. By enabling users to quickly highlight differences between bills, save notes on Members, conduct advanced full text searches, and create legislative scorecards, our productivity features save our clients valuable time.
GISCafe Voice: Can agencies combine information such as voting records, legislative statistics etc. in this solution or do you compile and analyze the data?
Our algorithms process over 14.6 billion data points to calculate hundreds of different statistics about each Member of Congress’ legislative history including top issues, most frequent collaborators, ideology, voting history, and legislative effectiveness. We have integrated these legislative statistics with demographic datasets from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, economic data, and GIS mapping tools from Esri.
GISCafe Voice: Who are your customers?
We cater to anyone who is interested in influencing the legislative process. Our clients range from trade associations, advocacy groups, Congressional offices, non-profit advocacy groups, and Fortune 500 companies.
GISCafe Voice: Does Quorum analyze and give recommendations, or does the customer make those determinations?
We provide our clients with the world’s most comprehensive legislative database and advanced analytics tools. Our suite of tools enable government affairs professionals to make informed decisions. We know the value of networking in Washington, D.C. and for that reason we know traditionally lobbying will never fade away. As the industry continues to modernize, we recognize the importance in developing advanced technology and providing advocates with the modernized tools they need to be more productive and effective at their work.
GISCafe Voice: Is Quorum behind the daily descriptions of popularity of presidential candidates and if so, how is that calculated?
Quorum is a legislative strategy platform that primarily focuses on the U.S. Congress and the 50 state legislatures. While polling is not within our suite of tools, we have tracked and continue to monitor the legislative activity and dialogue of presidential candidates who have, or are serving, in Congress.
GISCafe Voice: How do you account for one news organization giving one analytical result and another giving another result, if they both have access to the same data sources?
Reporters often use Quorum to access our comprehensive database of Congressional records. We work with reporters to ensure they are analyzing the data accurately, but we do not play a role in editorializing the data.