In today’s digital age, staying up-to-date with U.S. news and politics is easier than ever. So is contacting your elected officials and increasing voter engagement, especially if you have the right tools in your pocket — or more specifically, on the phone in your pocket. Below is Good Party’s list of the top 10 most useful political apps and websites in 2023.
Staying informed and politically active is essential to strong civic engagement. Today, there are plenty of mobile apps and websites that can help you feel more politically empowered.
Political apps can focus on a variety of functions. Some provide a non-partisan approach to the news cycle, while others zero in on fact-checking. Others make it easier for constituents to contact their elected officials, and some help voters keep track of the laws making their way through Congress. Whatever its function, a worthwhile political app should be user-friendly and easy to use, provide informative content, and have a real impact on political participation.
Many of the political apps and websites listed below can also be found on social media, and can supplement the ways you already interact with news and politics. Here are 10 free political apps to boost voter engagement in 2023:
Good Party is an organization committed to making people matter more than money in politics. Good Party is a great resource for becoming more informed about politics, becoming part of a community, and making an impact. Good Party’s website offers visitors access to an expansive glossary of political terms, informative blog articles, and independent voter guides. Most recently, Good Party has prepared an independent voter guide for the upcoming metro election in Nashville, Tennessee.
Good Party also offers easy ways to increase your level of civic engagement, whether you’re hoping to become a more educated voter, volunteer, or even run for office. Candidates can access both Good Party Academy — an online course designed to help Americans discern whether a run for office is right for them — and Good Party’s AI Campaign Manager for free.
Here are a few more ways you can engage with Good Party online:
Find Good Party on social media. Good Party is on Instagram @goodpartyorg and on TikTok @goodparty. You can also search for location-specific pages like @goodpartynashville and @goodpartynorthcarolina on TikTok.
Join the Good Party Discord. You’ll get access to contests, community events, and a space for civil conversation around all things politics.
Sign up for Good Party’s weekly newsletter. You’ll get regular updates on what Good Party is up to and how you can get involved, plus curated headlines on independent politics.
OpenSecrets is a nonprofit, independent, and nonpartisan research organization tracking the flow of money in U.S. politics and elections. OpenSecrets’ database gives voters access to information about campaign finance, political ads, dark money, lobbying, and more. Here are a few helpful pages to start exploring:
Elections Overview: Explore how much money Democrats and Republicans have raised to get elected, including how much they accepted from political action committees (PACs) and individual donors.
Members of the 117th Congress: Learn how much the current members of Congress have raised, spent, and keep as cash on hand.
Donor Profiles: Read profiles on the United States’ biggest individual financial spenders, from Harlan Crow to Elon Musk to Elizabeth and Richard Uihlein.
You can find OpenSecrets on Instagram @opensecretsdc.
Political journalism has become increasingly partisan, with many news sources leaning far to the right and others leaning far to the left. AllSides can help you decipher the polarized news landscape. On both the free mobile app and website, AllSides presents balanced news on trending topics. AllSides gathers headlines from a variety of news sources and then labels them as coming from the right, left, or center. This balanced view can help you think more critically about news stories and gain a more nuanced perspective.
On the app, AllSides provides easy-to-read summaries of news stories and how the media covered them, along with links to the original articles. The app also features an index of media sources and allows users to search stories by topic.
Here are a couple of especially valuable resources from AllSides for political empowerment:
Media Bias Chart: The AllSides Media Bias Chart gives you a quick, visual overview of which way many major news outlets lean politically. Understanding outlets’ political bias can help you make more informed decisions about where you access news.
Rate Your Bias: This quick quiz can help you understand your own political bias, so you can compare yourself to the bias of the news outlets you consume.
You can find AllSides on Instagram @allsidesnow.
Owned by the nonprofit Poynter Institute for Media Studies, PolitiFact is a helpful fact-checking resource. PolitiFact investigates the truthfulness of statements made by politicians, as well as by individuals posting on social media. PolitiFact’s Truth-O-Meter provides an easy-to-understand, visual representation of how truthful or inaccurate each statement is. You can tell at a glance whether each fact-checked statement is true, half true, or even “pants on fire” false. Each fact check also comes with an article going into the details of the case.
PolitiFact lets you search by state, topic, person, media, and level of truthfulness. When searching by person, users can view the individual’s scorecard — the percentages of true, mostly true, half true, mostly false, false, and pants on fire statements that PolitiFact has checked for that person.
Here are a few useful resources available from PolitiFact:
Biden Promise Tracker: This page monitors President Joe Biden’s top 99 campaign promises and his progress toward keeping them. See which promises have been kept, broken, stalled, met with compromise, or are still in the works.
Ad Watch: Uncover the truths and falsehoods embedded in the latest political and issue advocacy ads.
Suggest a Fact-check: Fill out the online form and submit a statement for PolitiFact to investigate.
You can find PolitiFact on Instagram @politifact.
ActiVote is an easy-to-use political app that can help you prepare for upcoming elections. Enter your address, and ActiVote provides information on when the next elections in your district will be, who is running, and what party each candidate affiliates with. ActiVote includes links to candidates’ social media profiles and campaign websites. The app also lets users rank their preferences ahead of elections, so you can go into election day feeling empowered.
One of the most interesting features of the ActiVote app is its political matrix. After taking a brief survey, ActiVote will place you on the matrix and let you see how your political views compare to those of politicians and candidates. Looking ahead to the 2024 presidential election, voters can see how the different presidential candidates compare to their own political priorities.
Here are a few useful features of the ActiVote app for digital democracy:
Daily Actions: ActiVote suggests small steps you can take each day to increase your level of voter engagement.
Bills: ActiVote shows you recent bills moving through Congress, along with how your elected officials voted on them.
Questions: You can answer questions on more policy issues to refine your political matrix.
You can find ActiVote on Instagram @activoteus.
Causes makes it easy for voters to contact their representatives about issues that matter. Causes works well both on the web and as a mobile app. Causes provides summaries of the most-viewed Congressional bills each week, including the bills’ status, an overview of how the bills would address issues, their main contents, and what supporters and opponents have to say about them.
The app and website make it easy for voters to contact their U.S. representatives — either to support or oppose the bill in question. Causes’ non-partisan approach lets you have your own voice in the political process.
Here are a couple key pages to start exploring:
Politics & Policy: Read the latest news in politics, from state legislation to the Supreme Court to presidential candidates.
Corporate Environmental Negligence Tracker: In response to user requests, Causes created this page dedicated to tracking corporate negligence in regard to climate pledges and pollution.
You can also sign up for Causes’ morning newsletter to stay up-to-date with actionable news.
Unusual Whales provides real-time data on U.S. stock exchanges. Unusual Whales’ Politics section shows you every recorded trade by members of Congress. You can view a list of the most recent insider trades, and search by both ticker and politician. Insider trading is one way that politicians often unfairly earn money while elected, so tracking their trading activity is essential to reducing corruption.
Unusual Whales also provides reports on politicians’ trading history. Here are a few key pages to start exploring:
Check out Unusual Whales’ recent report on the Supreme Court justices’ financial transactions and investments.
Read the 2022 Congressional Stock Trading Report to learn about the most important trends, topics, and differences from previous years.
Keep up to date with “The Blubber,” Unusual Whales’ financial news section.
You can find Unusual Whales on Instagram @unusualwhales, on Twitter @unusual_whales, and on TikTok @unusual_whales.
Data.gov is the U.S. government’s open data initiative. The database includes a wealth of information, with datasets published by a wide range of federal agencies, states, cities, and counties. Users can search by publisher, keyword, and topic. From climate to transportation, from local government to the stock market, Data.gov has the data you need to conduct a deep dive into thousands of topics.
Pocket Congress is a free app that makes it easy to stay up to date with the latest news from Congress. Users can view recent activity happening on the House and Senate floors, including the status of bills and bipartisan action. You can learn valuable information about your representatives, especially as it pertains to their voting history on legislation. Keep track of upcoming House and Senate votes and hold your Congress members accountable by staying informed. You can also call your representatives’ offices directly from the app.
5 Calls is another free political app that increases voter engagement by making it easy for users to contact their Congressional representatives about issues that matter to them. 5 Calls is simple to use, with background information on key issues and scripts for you to follow as you call your representatives. The app also keeps track of which representatives you have called about which issues, so you can track your impact over time.
Political apps and websites make it easier than ever for voters to improve their level of civic participation and have their voices heard. Whether you hope to stay informed, prepare for upcoming elections, or contact your representatives more regularly, these apps and websites can help you take a step in the right direction.
Ready to learn more? If you’re interested in learning more about technology in politics, check out our blog on civic tech and digital citizenship. Or if you’re curious about how political technology can enhance campaign strategy, read our blog on the power of political campaign management software.