A Data Driven Approach To Washington

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For the past year, my roommate Jonathan Marks and I, with the help of a team of Harvard, MIT, and George Washington University undergraduates have been hard at work on Quorum - Washington's next generation legislative strategy platform. With today's public launch what began as a dorm room conversation about the potential intersection between big data and Congress has now become a full-fledged resource for anyone designing a legislative strategy.

Quantitative Insights
From the financial industry, to agriculture, to baseball, big data has changed the way that people make decisions. Quorum's algorithms process over 800 million data points to calculate hundreds of different statistics about each Member of Congress' legislative history including their top issues, most frequent collaborators, voting history, ideology, and legislative effectiveness. Novices and legislative professionals alike can use this information to optimize their legislative strategies.

Consolidated and Organized Data
Currently, the information necessary to design a legislative strategy is spread across multiple different websites in a variety of different formats. Our team has built a database of every bill, vote, press release, floor statement, tweet, demographic data point from the U.S. Census, and more from the last four Congresses and built an analytics layer on top of these data that not only gives users access to comprehensive congressional data but also helps them to use it to inform their legislative strategies. Quorum enables users to easily combine filters to view and search across all of this data.

21st Century Productivity Tools
As we canvassed Washington last spring talking with people about Quorum one of the things we were stuck by were the number tasks that could be automated using computer science. Quorum offers a series of 21st century productivity tools that enable users to automatically identify all modifications between different versions of a bill, create legislative scorecards on votes, bills, and amendments, and rank all 435 Congressional districts by over 1,000 demographic statistics. Quorum also facilitates legislative tracking, allowing users to easily assign Members of Congress to lists and keep track of notes and outreach to each of the 535 Members.

Our public launch today marks a great milestone in our journey to bring a data-driven approach to Washington, but our work is far from over and the journey continues. Sign up for email updates to stay up-to-date with our progress and drop us a note if you are interested in seeing a demo.

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