Welcome, Members of Congress!
Constituent-Only, Live, Webcast Town Halls
Developed Specifically for Congress
The First and Only Congressional, Constituent-Validated, Webcast Town Halls
Admit ONLY YOUR Constituents
Improve Your Constituent Goodwill by 23%* and Your Electability by an Average of 14%*
Are Free to Constituents and Available to All Members of Congress by Subscription
*IMPORTANT: The Congressional Management Foundation (CMF) has validated online town halls in a micro-scale study with macro implications for constituent-only town halls. These study findings validate the need for large, fully viable, scalable town halls which are now offered by LMI/eVoiceAmerica for all Members of Congress. See Section 2.2.2. to learn more.
CONSTITUENT-ONLY, Live, Webcast, Town Halls Are the ULTIMATE Upgrade - No More Outside Agitators. Town Halls Now Belong to YOU and YOUR CONSTITUENTS
Below is all the information Congress members or their staff need to make an informed decision to subscribe to the LMI/eVoiceAmerica, constituent-only, webcast town halls. To get started, see Section 4.0.
Table of Contents
1. Problems to Be Solved: 1) Congressional Disconnectedness; 2) Current Town Hall Limitations; 3) Improving Constituent Goodwill and Your Re-Electability
2. The Best and Only Solution: eVoiceAmerica.com (eVA) / LogMeIn’s (LMI) Constituent-Only, pve > Live, Webcast Town Halls
4. Getting Started / Action Steps: Two Dashboards and Subscriptions Are Required ̶ LMI and eVA
5. How an eVA User Enters a Constituent-Only, Live, Webcast Town Hall
6. Two-Layer, Security Barriers Limit Town Hall Participants to YOUR Validated Constituents
7. How eVA and LMI Work Together to Secure and Validate Participants as Constituents
8. Promoting and Maximizing Your Town Hall Constituent Attendance
9. LMI’s Video Webcast Features
12. Why Tele-Town Halls Don’t Work
Abbreviations: eVoiceAmerica (eVA); LogMeIn (LMI); his / her (his); town halls (THs); Members of Congress (MOCs); Electability Percentage (EP); Congressional Management Foundation (CMF)
1.0 Problems to be Solved: 1) Congressional Disconnectedness; 2) Current Town Hall Limitations; 3) Improving Constituent Goodwill and Your Re-Electability
1.1. Congressional Disconnectedness: Conspicuously missing is the Congressional role as a constituent-centric advocate in our current, hyper-partisan, polarized, political landscape. However, it is becoming increasingly apparent that constituents are not as polarized as Congress itself and are ready to collaborate with their MOCs. Research by the Congressional Management Foundation has determined, "Congress is struggling to perform its role in democracy" (Congressional Management Foundation, State of the Congress, p. 27 (2017)). It states that, critical to improving Congressional performance, there must be "effective communication from and to citizens" (Ibid., 27).
1.1.1. Americans Believe that Congress Is Disconnected from Them: Byron York, Chief Political Correspondent for the Washington Examiner, states: In fact, the true polarization in American life is not between Republican and Democratic voters, but between the American electorate and its representatives in government and in the media, who exist in a radically polarizing feedback loop that has disconnected them from the American people like two moons orbiting each other that have lost the centripetal [unifying] pull to the planet they once circled (Daybreak Insider, April 2, 2020).
1.2. In-Person, Local, Town Hall Limitations: Local, in-person town halls historically have been critical to MOCs connecting with their constituents. The once-critical, local town halls have been marginalized and are dysfunctional based on the recent impact of "hacktivists" who hijack in-person town halls. Meaningful town halls are a crucial missing link in the current representative democratic process. The current "default solution" to the decline in local town halls has been the audio-only, tele-town halls which are uninteresting, ineffective, and for these reasons, they simply do not happen. See Section 13.0.
1.2.1. COVID-19: The coronavirus pandemic could make local town halls a quaint, historic memory. Disease, contagion, prevention, and mitigation for small to large groups will likely be a long-term, public health issue.
1.3. Many MOC Approval Ratings in Q1 2020 Are in the Low-20% Range (per Gallup poll). In 2018, an Average of 13% of Incumbents Were Defeated. (See https://ballotpedia.org/Incumbents_defeated_in_2018_congressional_elections). The public’s low confidence in Congress, as a whole, needs to be elevated and can be elevated one member at a time, based on the need to improve Members’ approval ratings and electability. See Section 2.0.
2.0 The Best and Only Solution: eVoiceAmerica.com / LogMeIn’s Constituent-Only, Live, Webcast Town Halls
2.1. Solution to Low-Approval Ratings Related to Congressional Disconnectedness from Their Constituents: This disconnectedness is so conspicuous in our current, hyper-partisan, polarized, political landscape. But now, Congressional stature and approval ratings can be measurably restored and upgraded. Enter the combined technologies of LMI and eVA: Constituent-only, live town halls. Now, MOCs can be restored to their intended gravitas by dramatically upgrading current town halls. MOCs who are committed to their constituents and re-election will welcome this 21st-century, webcast town hall solution. Increased participation, using LMI / eVA’s town hall solution, will significantly elevate MOCs’ approval ratings and restore them to their Constitutional stature, good faith, and increased electability as documented below. See Section 2.2.
2.2. Solution to Local Town Hall Limitations: Two Technologies Create One Solution. eVA’s patented, constituent-validation, website technology, when combined with LMI’s state-of-the-art, gated-entry webcast technology creates constituent-only, live, webcast town halls. These town halls exclude 1) all non-constituents and outside "hacktivists" bent on preventing the free speech of the majority and 2) constituent hacktivists bent on disrupting the event. These webcast town halls are the highest-and-best-use of the internet to provide new, exciting, high-tech, value-added, secure online town halls to better serve Congress and its constituents.
2.3. Solution to Low Congressional Approval Ratings: Using LMI/eVA’s Constituent-Only, Webcast Town Halls Can Spike Your Electability.
2.3.1. Use of These Town Halls Can Spike Your Electability and Constituent Approval by 14%.The limited study sample cited below consisted of 19 MOCs with 24 TH constituents / attendees. The CMF, small-scale study results, when applied to LMI/eVA’s large-scale, live webcasts, show the potential, positive, short- and long-term impact on constituent approval and electability. These large-scale webcasts can include up to 5500, constituent-only attendees per event.
2.3.2. CMF Research Study Validates Constituent-Only, Online Town Halls. This 14% data point is documented in a 2019 Congressional Management Foundation publication and study entitled, "Online Town Hall Meetings - Exploring Democracy in the 21st Century." This study was implemented by CMF with the support of the Ash Center for Demographic Governance at the Harvard Kennedy School. Funding was provided by the National Science Foundation and the findings were published in Proceedings of the U.S National Academy of Sciences (2015). These findings were also published in the Smithsonian Magazine (2015), and Roll Call Magazine (2018).
2.4. The eVA Constituent-Only Webcasts Can Also Increase Your Constituent Goodwill and Approval Ratings.
2.4.1. As an independent eVA endeavor, prior to and during to the CMF study and as a coincidental fulfillment of its findings, eVA developed and patented its constituent-only technology and its daily electability percentages (EPs). With this electability data, MOCs can track their daily EPs with their constituents when eVA users answer the question (only once per day): "Would You Re-Elect Me Today?" eVA daily aggregates these answers / votes into EPs so MOCs can know in which direction their constituents are trending on re-electing them (i.e., likely the same constituents who attend your constituent-only townhalls). eVA includes these EPs in its FREE, Daily Constituent Majority Report. As you promote your town halls (in email blasts, newsletters, etc.), the base for your constituent electability percentages can grow into the millions, depending upon the size of your district or state – a real time, campaign and re-election plus.
2.5 Scientific Confirmation: The eVA/LMI constituent-only webcast town halls fulfill the above CMF findings as a solution for increased approval ratings and improved re-electability. This new 21st-century technology is a win/win/win for MOCs, their constituents, and our Republic. To read the study in full, go to Section 11.0. below for the link to this study.
For constituent validation, two integrated, security dashboards require two subscription purchases - one from LMI and one from eVA. These two services must work together to guarantee the constituent-only, webcast town hall admission, described below.
3.1. LMI Congressional Webcast Pricing -- $11,988 / Year: LMI offers an MOC-only, annual subscription to its webcasts which are limited to your validated constituents. Your annual LMI Congressional webcast subscription includes 1) unlimited, one-hour (or less as an option) town halls per year; 2) for up to 5,500 attendees for each event; and 3) the security of gated-entry for your constituents only.
3.1.1. Pricing Perspective -- Tele-Town Halls vs. LMI / eVA CV Town Halls: For less than the price of 2½ tele-town halls ($5,000 per event x 2.5 = $12,500), LMI offers unlimited, constituent-only, one-hour (or less) webcasts featuring live/streamed video; audience management during the town hall, real-time chat questions and polling questions; meeting analytics; and on-demand access to all events after an event for whatever timeframe Members select within their LMI dashboards. Plus, as a public service, this $11,988 price is discounted 60% off LMI’s comparable, corporate webcast pricing. Additionally, it offers a cost savings compared to in-person, local town halls which require travel and lodging, time away from the office, and all the downsides of in-person town halls which are easily disrupted and ineffective. NOTE: The $11,988 offer is a Congress-only price and is not available on LMI’s website. (See Section 4.1 to get started.)
3.1.2. 5,500 Attendees – a Perspective: A town hall of up to 5,500 attendees fully accomplishes the purposes of an effective town hall with attendance by a large, manageable cross-section of constituents. Sample calculation: 5,500 webcast attendees = 10 times local town hall attendance of 500 attendees. 5,500 is 22 times greater than a modest attendance of only 250. This 22x factor could be many times higher if your average attendance is lower than 250. The cost element of an equivalent number of local town halls would likely be prohibitive compared to purchasing a one-year, $11,988 subscription to LMI town halls.
3.1.3. For a complete list of LMI’s webcast features, see Section 9.0. below.
3.2. eVA’s Monthly Subscription Pricing for Its Constituent-Validation Protection ̶ $375/month. This includes eVA’s value-added, constituent-validation technology, authentication, security, and event scheduling dashboard. This eVA capability ensures that those entering your town hall live within your district or state and engages all the LMI webcast features described in Section 9.0.
3.2.1. The eVA subscription dashboard ensures MOCs that a) meeting URLs are never visible AND thus can never be published/shared with non-constituents (including those who may have negative intentions) because all attendees originate from "www.evoiceamerica.com/townhall" as validated constituents; and b) admission to your webcast town halls are only permitted from eVA’s website which triggers LMI’s gated-entry security.
4.0 How to Get Started: Two Dashboards Are Required –
One Each for LMI and eVA
NOTE: The set-up process described below, including registration, subscription payments, dashboard setups (2), town hall event scheduling, and meeting audience management are staff-level responsibilities. This means that you, as the MOC, just have to show up!
4.1. Step 1: Setting Up Your LMI Dashboard: This step is required before setting up your eVA dashboard. Call Melinda Williams / LMI at (984) 222-7331 to complete the LMI registration and subscription processes. You will then be contacted by email by your personal LMI Congressional account representative to schedule an onboarding phone call to answer your questions and create your first event using the LMI side of the Constituent-Only, Webcast product.
4.1.1 Then your LMI account representative will direct you to this eVA, Constituent-Only, Webcast Town Hall Products page. Then proceed to Section 4.2 below for instructions to a) "Register Now" as an eVA new subscriber at www.evoiceamerica.com; b) to subscribe; and c) create your eVA dashboard. Section 4.2 provides two simple eVA site-paths to accomplish all three steps. After you have completed your new-subscriber registration, your eVA dashboard has been setup (Section 4.2). Then subscribe to eVA town hall dashboard (Section 4.2.2.). Now, you or your staff can login to your eVA dashboard, as a subscriber, to add a new town hall event, edit a pending event, or delete an event. If you have any questions, please call eVA at 888.993.8642.
4.1.2. All subsequent town hall events must be scheduled first on your LMI dashboard to integrate your meeting time into its global calendar. For each new webcast town hall scheduled, using the LMI dashboard first, LMI will provide a unique, confidential URL for each new town hall. This link is never visible to the user or the public but will be entered into your eVA meeting set-up dashboard and hidden within your eVA meeting link in eVA’s "My Town Hall" tab, described in Section 4.2 below. This ensures constituent-only participation. After the LMI subscription and dashboard are setup, THEN, go to Section 4.2 below to register, subscribe to and set up your eVA dashboard to activate the constituent-only feature. After an MOC adds an LMI webcast town hall, deletes, or edits events from within his LMI dashboard, then the MOC must also enter the same information into his eVA dashboard – a simple, intuitive process.
4.2. Step 2: Setting Up Your eVA Dashboard. This Dashboard Activates eVA’s Constituent-Validation Which Interfaces with Your LMI Congressional Town Hall Webcast Subscription. Each MOC is required to register with eVA as a subscriber to use this eVA dashboard to engage eVA’s patented, constituent-validation technology and integrate with LMI’s webcast technology. To do so, go to www.evoiceamerica.com and follow either Path 1 or Path 2 below:
4.2.1. Path 1: Register as a New Subscriber from the eVA home screen:
Home page > Login/Registration > Subscriber Login form > Register Now > complete registration form > Submit
You are now a registered Subscriber and have created your "Subscriptions Manager" dashboard which will appear on the left side of your screen every time you log in as a subscriber.
4.2.2. Using this dashboard, you can subscribe to eVA’s town hall, webcast service products by:
Logging in using your Subscriber login > My Account menu > Subscriptions Manager > select a product (in this case, the "Constituent-Validated Virtual Town Halls – Online") > follow the steps below.
184.108.40.206. In viewing your Subscriptions Manager, there should be a "No" in the "Subscribed?" column to the left of the "Constituent-Validated Virtual Town Halls – Online" product link. Click on the "Subscribe Now" button to the right of this product title and complete the PayPal subscription / payment process. PLEASE NOTE: You do not have to use a PayPal account. You can use the Guest option to use the credit card of your choice. Having subscribed, when you login next, your Subscriptions Manager will show a "Yes" in the first column.
4.2.3. Path 2: Register from the site "Products" tab
Home page > Products tab > Products dropdown > "Constituent-Validated Virtual Town Halls" > products page (this page) > the Register Now button below > complete registration form > Submit
You are now a registered subscriber and have created your Subscriptions Manager dashboard.
4.3 Step 3: Create your constituent-only, webcast, town hall event. Click on the eVA Subscriptions Manager, then click on the "Constituent-Validated Virtual Town Hall" link. Fill in the scheduling form with the required webcast scheduling information, INCLUDING the LMI meeting URL for your new event, then submit. Adding the LMI meeting URL here overcomes the need for its publication and enables eVA-only, constituent validation. Now, this event will appear on the "My Town Halls" tab dropdown as a listed link showing the MOC’s name, town hall date and time, and the TH topic. Again, the LMI meeting URL is hidden within this link and is never visible to the public and cannot be shared.
4.4. NOTE TO MOCs: Why Town Hall Attendees Must Be an eVA Registered User to Enter Your Constituent-Only, Webcast Town Halls: To increase attendance, you will need to encourage your constituents to become registered users of www.evoiceamerica.com for FREE. By doing so, eVA validates them as your constituents in the eVA registration process, giving them access to your town hall events, again, for FREE (using the "My Town Halls" tab available only to eVA registered users); thus, pre-qualifying them as constituents to attend your town halls.
5.0 How eVA Registered Users Access Your Webcast Town Halls
5.1 Constituents login to eVA and click the "My Town Halls" tab where they will see their MOC’s name, webcast date(s), and time(s), as well as those of their other validated MOCs. Only eVA users, who are an MOC’s validated constituents, will see his/her scheduled town halls, and MOC's name with dates and times. Only subscribed MOCs with scheduled events will appear on this dropdown.
5.2 By clicking on a town hall event just prior to the event (within15 minutes or less of the start time) from the "My Town Halls" tab, eVA users/attendees will be admitted directly into the webcast town hall because they accessed the meeting as an eVA-validated constituent from "evoiceamerica.com/townhall." Using this direct-entry, the need for publishing a public access code or event link is overcome. This proprietary process prevents outsiders / non-constituents from entering the meeting and from disseminating the link to non-constituents. LMI/eVA town halls eliminate any interference or disruption by using a chat-only feature for questions which are screened first for acceptability.
5.3 Town Hall Admission – the eVA User Experience: When the eVA user selects an MOC name, date, and time option from the "My Town Halls" tab, he will be automatically / seamlessly admitted to the selected LMI, live, webcast TH in progress. An attendee can enter a meeting within 15 minutes of the start time and during the meeting until the meeting capacity is filled. When an eVA user clicks on a selected town hall event, at the designated broadcast time, he will be admitted to the selected TH event using the path below.
Login or register from www.evoiceamerica.com > "My Town Halls" tab > date and time of preferred event > User admitted!
5.3.1 An eVA site visitor (non-registered) will see the "My Town Halls" tab, but when he clicks on it, there will be a prompt instructing him to register as an eV user to see the contents of this tab with his own MOCs’ town hall events.
6.0. Two-Layer, Security Barriers Limit Town Hall Admissions to YOUR Validated Constituents
6.1. eVA’s User Registration Requires a Zip+4 Address. To verify constituency, all attendees must first register as www.evoiceamerica.com users. eVA’s patented registration process programmatically and precisely validates which US senators and house member govern each eVA user by the user’s zip+4 extension. There are no ambiguities based on house districts with split or multiple 5-digit-only zip codes. Thus, eVA users can only attend town halls for their eVA-validated list of MOCs. Conversely, only those designated as your constituents will be admitted to your town halls. See Section 7.3.1 for more details.
6.2. Gated Entry: Why Admission Is Permitted Only from eVA’s Town Hall Portal. Event admission will be granted only to those 1) joining a town hall as a registered, constituent-validated, eVA user, clicking on the "My Town Halls" tab and selecting an event; and 2) entering the event directly from eVA’s "My Town Halls" tab. This triggers LMI’s gated entry by accepting only those attendees originating from "www.evoiceamerica.com/townhall" as validated constituents. Please note that no published/public access or link is required for this admission process. These two security filters eliminate "outsiders" of any stripe or mindset. Thus, this is the second component of the LMI / eVA, integrated, gated solution.
6.3. Two-Layer Authorization: The above, two-layer authentication requires 1) an LMI annual subscription to acquire an LMI dashboard and meeting URLS and 2) an eVA monthly subscription to acquire eVA's constituent-validation feature and scheduling dashboard. Both dashboards are necessary for MOCs to implement eVA’s constituent-validation security measures, and manage their respective, town halls. For additional details on Getting Started, see Section 4.0.
7.0. How eVA and LMI Work Together to Secure and Validate Participants as Constituents
7.1. LMI / eVA VTHs Provide Three Levels of Constituent-Validation (CV) Security to Ensure Maximum Attendee Screening. eVA / LMI’s CV, TH security 1) eliminates the admission of outside agitators; 2) guarantees MOCs that only constituent-validated participants enter the event by preventing the publication of the town hall URLs; and 3) engages LMI’s gated-entry security. Gated-entry means that LMI will only allow access to LMI / eVA’s constituent-validated VTHs to eVA’s registered, constituent-validated users entering the VTH from eVA’s site tab, "My Town Halls."
7.2. Security Between MOCs and LMI -
7.2.1. Using LMI’s MOC Dashboard and Meeting URL: After an MOC subscribes online for LMI’s webcast town halls, and creates a new event in his LMI dashboard, LMI provides each MOC a unique, confidential meeting URL for each meeting.
220.127.116.11. This LMI URL will never be made public in the LMI/eVA town hall setup or admission processes.
18.104.22.168. For all LMI’s webcast town hall annual subscriptions, LMI provides each MOC his personal, secure, scheduling dashboard to create and manage unlimited events. This LMI dashboard permits MOCs to add, delete, reschedule, and edit their webcast town halls. Your LMI account rep will fully assist in the set-up process or answer MOCs’ subsequent queries (see Section 4.1).
22.214.171.124. Additionally, your LMI TH subscription will include a meeting management dashboard to manage your event (screen live chat questions from attendees, block disrupters with offensive questions; show persuasive visuals, charts, and tables, and more).
7.2.2. No Copying of In-Progress, Meeting URLs for Unauthorized Distribution and Attendance: Once a validated participant enters an in-progress meeting, he cannot copy and distribute the real-time meeting URL to "unvalidated others" to join the meeting. If an attendee copies the visible URL and sends it to others, while the meeting is in progress, and they attempt to enter the meeting as non-validated constituents, a pop-up, error message will state that they are not an authorized attendee. Lastly, with no published URL before the meeting, there is no way for outsiders to enter a TH. Only participants entering a constituent-only, webcast town hall from "www.evoiceamerica.com/townhall" will be admitted to ensure constituent validation.
7.3. Security Between MOCs and Their Constituent-Validated Participants Using eVA’s, Constituent-Validated User Registration: Access to an LMI/eVA webcast town hall is limited to eVA registered, constituent-validated users who then become pre-qualified attendees.
7.3.1. How eVA’s User Registration Validates Constituency: The eVA user registration form requires a residence address, city, county, state, and zip+4. If a registrant doesn’t know his 4-digit zip extension, eVA provides a direct link to a USPS, zip code, lookup table to find his extension. Using the Congressional District Database, eVA then matches each eVA registrant’s zip+4, registration address to ensure accurate matches for user’s validated MOCs. This matching process determines which MOCs serve that unique residence address. Based on this zip+4 address match, every eVA user is provided on-site with his recurring, updated list of his MOCs serving that precise address.
7.3.2. This matching process is the only and best way to accurately and precisely validate constituents in all states and districts, including districts with split zip codes or multiple zip codes. Thus, to participate in the LMI / eVA webcast town halls, MOCs’ constituents will be required to register on the eVA site for constituent matching and validation for direct admission to the webcast town hall. No other video- or tele-conferencing service provides constituent validation.
7.4. Security Between Elected Reps and eVA Using eVA’s Constituent-Only, Webcast Town Hall Dashboard
7.4.1. Creating an eVA Town Hall Meeting: Within this dashboard, for each event, the MOC enters the new, LMI-provided event URL generated from his LMI dashboard when he/she sets up a new meeting. The information in the template will automatically appear to his/her constituents in eVA’s "My Town Halls" tab as name, topic, date, and time in the dropdown under each MOC’s name. The event link provided in the LMI / eVA meeting set-up is never made public.
7.4.2. eVA Dashboard capabilities: eVA’s MOC dashboard permits 1) adding new events, deleting, and editing dates and times. 2) After an MOC adds an LMI webcast town hall, deletes, or edits events from within his LMI dashboard, then the MOC must also enter the same information into his eVA dashboard ̶-- a simple, intuitive process. This information is simultaneously updated within his on-site town hall list. The "My Town Halls" dropdown list displays town halls available for meeting admission. 3) The eVA dashboard also provides optional text boxes for topics / subjects and issues for a given town hall which are included in the My Town Halls event dropdown. Thus, users can join the meeting(s) that most interest them.
7.4.3. eVA’s dashboard guarantees constituent-validated TH attendance: The information entered by the MOC into his eVA dashboard 1) admits / funnels only constituent-validated users directly to the town halls listed in the eVA "My Town Halls" dropdown; 2) guarantees that the user enters the meeting from the eVA site (all others will be denied admission by LMI’s gated-entry screening); and 3) guarantees that all participants originate from eVA.com to be admitted (Section 7.1). Hypothetically, should a meeting URL be illicitly obtained, there is nowhere to enter it for event access.
7.4.4. eVA’s "My Town Halls" dropdown: 1) displays the town hall date, time links (no meeting URLs) for all pending webcast town halls for each MOC; 2) only for MOCs who are subscribed to the LMI/eVA town hall dashboards; and 3) only the constituent-validated MOCs for the user’s house rep’s district and two US senators appear. 4) The MOC can be assured that this list of webcast town halls appears only to his eVA-validated constituents. 5) Only MOCs with LMI/eVA scheduled meetings will be listed. 6) When the eVA user selects a meeting date and time, he will be admitted directly to the selected webcast town hall in progress as an eVA-validated constituent. This process prevents admission of non-constituent, disruptive, aggressive participants who wish to hijack the town hall. 7) Only this eVA registration process will permit admission to the selected town hall as a validated constituent.
7.4.5. "My Town Hall" tab is visible to all, but the meeting dropdown event list is only accessible to registered eVA users. Thus, an eVA visitor browsing the site will see the "My Town Halls" tab but will be instructed by a pop-up to register as an eVA user to see the town hall event schedules for his MOCs. After the visitor registers as a user, the event dropdown under "My Town Halls" tab will appear listing only his personal MOCs and their upcoming town hall events.
7.5. Why Two Dashboards Are Required - LMI and eVA: eVA’s patented, constituent-validation, website technology, when combined with LMI’s state-of-the-art, gated-entry webcast technology creates the amalgam equaling Constituent-Only, Webcast Town Halls. Both technologies are required, one for the gated-entry webcast (LMI) and one for the constituent-only limitation (eVA).
7.6. eVA Website Hosting: eVA engages Carnwennan, a leading DC, IT consulting firm, to host eVA on the web using all necessary and current infrastructure security solutions, as well as integrated data capabilities. eVA and Carnwennan implement the most robust financial integration solutions as well as AWS web-hosting capabilities to ensure that payments are secure and that eVoiceAmerica.com’s data is secure and readily available to MOCs and their constituents. AWS web-hosting services include real-time scaling and load balancing.
8.0. Promoting and Maximizing Your
Constituent-Only, Webcast Town Hall Attendance
NOTE: All the tasks described below are staff-level responsibilities.
8.1. On MOC’s Official Website:
8.1.1. Include a recurring notice on MOCs’ official sites of the dates and times of upcoming webcast town hall events. To increase attendance, you can also add one or two topics -- a maximum of two are recommended.
8.1.2. You can include this recurring instruction on your site: "To see my webcast town hall schedule, register, or log in to www.evoiceamerica.com. Click the ‘My Town Halls’ tab to see my list of scheduled town halls. Simply select your preferred event. Then, 15 - 0 minutes before the designated time, join us! To join this constituent-only, webcast town hall, all participants must be a registered eVA user."
8.1.3. If you wish to further empower your constituents, mention two issues on your website that will be the focus of your next town hall. Then, direct your readers to register/login to eVA; search, find, and select those topics by keyword search within the eVA issues list; click your issue of choice and submit a personal opinion through eVA’s opinion template. All constituent opinions are emailed daily to your preferred staff’s inbox as part of eVA’s Daily Constituent Majorities Report (DCM) along with all opinions submitted that day.
126.96.36.199. Your DCM Report will be sent 1) for FREE in fulfillment of eVA’s contract with America and Congress – that their opinions will be sent directly to their members of Congress, and 2) only if your constituents have submitted opinions THAT day. These reports also include daily, aggregated, issue-based, majority percentages for all opinions submitted by your constituents opining that day. This report will also contain your electability percentage so you can track how your town halls are affecting your daily electability percentages or based on your overall performance.
8.1.4. You can grow your email lists because all constituent opinions on your DCM report contains their email addresses.
8.2. Your Staffers Can Use eVA’s Data-Generating, Issue Links to Promote Your Town Halls and Generate Constituent Majority Percentages on Those Issues (Before and After Your Town Halls): If you want to focus on a current, national issue of interest (e.g., border security, late-term abortion, abolition of the electoral college, Green New Deal, etc.), and if you would like to focus on that issue in your webcast, then you can do so using the standard 10 steps below to create hyperlinks to those issues (if this process is new to you) within your constituent outreach newsletters, emails or official website:
Copy, print, and store these simple instructions for future use.
- Go to the home page
- Click the "Take Action Now" tab
- Locate Top Issue or other issue of choice via Topic > Subtopic > Issue of choice OR do a keyword/key phrase search for your issue of interest and select the issue of interest. You will then be on eVoiceAmerica’s opinion submission page for the selected issue.
- Copy the https:// URL in the address field (the URL ends in a number)
- Paste this URL where desired in your article >
- Highlight the URL and right click
- Select Hyperlink
- "Insert Hyperlink" screen appears
- Create display issue name in the top text box (e.g., "Border Security" or "Take action on this issue now."
- Click OK.
8.2.1. These issue-links can then be imbedded in MOC newsletters, emails, and on their official site to promote their constituent-only webcasts and obtain constituent majorities on the these and many other issues as contained in their eVA "Daily Constituent Majorities Report" emailed to them for free as a public service. These links take MOCs’ constituents directly to eVA’s opinion submission screen for that issue so they can email their opinions and eVotes to them on those issues (e.g., Email Me on Abolishing the Electoral College). Constituent opinions and eVotes, submitted using eVA, generate majority percentages on issues important to them and MOCs, help them to be more responsive, improve their constituent favorability, and help them to be re-elected.
8.3. Grow Your Email Database: MOCs can significantly grow their constituent-validated email address database by directing their constituents to register on eVA’s take-action site to 1) join your webcast town halls and 2) send their personal opinions and issue-based eVotes to their MOCs. When eVA users/constituents submit their personal opinions to you, you will receive a FREE, Daily Constituent Majorities Report (DCM) containing opinions, Yes/No eVotes by issue, including constituent email addresses in your LD’s inbox. You should be receiving eVA’s DCM Report from constituents submitting opinions through eVA.
If you are not receiving these, please 1) white list "firstname.lastname@example.org"; 2) call eVA at 888.993.8642; or 3) Contact Us to provide us the name and email address of the staff member to receive this report on days when opinions have been submitted to you.
9.0. LMI’s Video Webcast Features
- Questions asked by constituents using a real-time chat box can be screened and answered at MOC’s discretion.
- "A picture is worth a thousand words." A video webcast allows MOCs to present pre-prepared text, pictures, and graphs.
- Real-time poll questions permit MOCs to gauge participant support during the VTH.
- Post-event data is available to analyze town hall performance.
- Subsequent, unlimited, on-demand access by constituents (and others via YouTube) who missed the live event -- increases the exposure and success of your THs.
We look forward to working with you and your staff to expand upon the original scope of local Congressional town halls using LMI/eVA’s Constituent-Only, Webcast, Town Hall technologies and to upgrade / refine / improve and restore town halls to the Founding Fathers’ model of constituent-only events. If you have questions, please call 888.993.8642 or Contact Us.
11.0. Appendices / References
Congressional Management Foundation Link: Online Town Hall Meetings: Exploring Democracy in the 21st Century
11.1 Key Findings Regarding Online Town Halls: An eVA Perspective If town halls of 15-25 attendees can result in the below successes, how much more substantial and far-reaching will be the results of frequent, live, steamed webcast town halls with the reach of 5500 attendees?
- Trust in the Member of Congress increased 14%.
- Participants were more likely than non-participants to describe the Member of Congress as "accessible," "fair," and "compassionate."
- When asked whether the participants trusted how the Member of Congress handled the issue discussed ("immigration," not exactly a softball topic), 58% "approved" after the session, compared to 20% before the session.
- These sessions were more likely than traditional venues to attract people from demographics not traditionally engaged in politics and people frustrated with the political system.
- 95% of participants agreed that such sessions are "very valuable to our democracy" and that they would be interested in doing similar online sessions for other issues.
- Participation in the town hall increased citizen engagement in politics. Not only were they more likely to vote and follow elections in the news, they were more likely to try and persuade others to vote.
11.2 CMF Study Conclusions
Our findings demonstrate that online town halls offer dramatic positive benefits both to citizens and Members of Congress. The sessions increased involvement in politics, knowledge and engagement on the policy issues under discussion, and understanding of the Member’s position. Participating in an online town hall with their Members of Congress significantly improved constituents’ views of government, in general, and of their Member, in particular. The changes in attitudes were striking. The participants in these meetings reported not only an increased feeling of trust, agreement, and satisfaction with the government, but also an increased involvement in their own communities through their discussions of the issue and politics with others, their persuading others to vote, and their own increased likelihood to vote. Additionally, it appears as though participation in this type of online session, even with small groups of constituents, has political benefits to Members that extend well beyond the actual participants, through discussions that participants had with other constituents. Finally, our results suggest that online town halls offer an effective way to reach voters who might be frustrated with the political process. All of these results come with a caveat. These sessions were designed in a way to maximize their credibility. They had a neutral moderator, a recruitment strategy that guaranteed a representative set of constituents, and discussion ground rules that guaranteed that a variety of voices would be heard and that participation would be evenly spread. These sessions were clearly not staged to make the Member look good, which, paradoxically, may have made them a more effective means to that end. Online town halls also save congressional offices time and resources, are practical to implement, can allow them to engage more and different constituents than traditional means, and significantly reduce the difficulty of meeting with constituents for a Member. They required only half an hour of the Member’s time, where the Member simply needed to be some place with a reliable telephone connection. That is, all of the travel time involved in regular town halls was eliminated. The time and resources necessary to arrange the logistics and venue for an in-person town hall were also eliminated, since all were able to participate from the comfort of their own homes or offices. Further, the medium potentially allows individuals who otherwise might not get involved in politics to become engaged. Remarkably, we found many of the demographic groups that tend to be under-represented in politics to be more likely to agree to participate in these sessions. We also found that most of these effects scale up in a larger scale session we ran with a U.S. Senator in 2008, with close to 200 participants. It is certainly practical for a Member to directly reach many thousands of constituents, and tens of thousands over a year at the cost of perhaps a couple of days of his or her time scattered throughout the year. While we would certainly not recommend that traditional means of communication with constituents be abandoned, it is clear that these sessions offer a very effective way to reach many constituents and, combined with traditional means of communication, can help further strengthen the ties between Members of Congress and those they represent.
12.0 Why Tele-Town Halls (TTHs) Don’t Work
12.1. Deficiencies of Current, Audio-Only, Tele-Town Halls: They just don’t happen because: constituent participation cannot be validated using traditional telephone number databases; minimal constituent participation creates minimal ROI on an MOC’s time, energy, and the cost of TTHs; and audio-only is a lack-luster, outdated, one-dimensional technology.
12.2. Why Constituent Participation Cannot Be Validated Using Telephone Numbers. Telephone databases are porous for constituent-validation purposes. Cell phones have now eclipsed land-line phone numbers. Thus, a constituent phone number provided from the voter registration database (which telephone field is optional) will likely be a cell phone number or NO phone number. Also, when people move, they keep their cell phone so the area code is not a certain indicator of residence or constituency.
12.2.1. Lastly, citizens are bombarded by political and marketing robocalls and typically disregard them, especially those that appear to be campaign- and fundraising-related calls. eVA’s constituent-validation measures overcome all these deficiencies. Compared to eVA’s Constituent-Only, Webcast Town Hall technology, TTH technology is ill-focused, outdated, and expensive.