Citizen Voices FAQ
Q) What is Citizen Voices®?
A) Citizen Voices is an initiative of Citizens Count, a nonpartisan nonprofit with a mission of making citizen engagement easier. Citizen Voices are summaries of public policy discussions that take place on Citizens Count's website and social media channels.
Between work, personal, and family obligations, it can be a challenge for citizens to give input on proposed legislation the traditional way: by driving to Concord and presenting testimony at committee hearings.
Citizen Voices makes it possible for people to take part in the legislative process in an easy and convenient way: online. We post clear ‘yes or no’ questions about hot issues facing New Hampshire online. Citizens weigh in, sharing their opinions and discussing the issues. We analyze the discussion, summarizing the results in an easy-to-read report which we then deliver to elected officials at key points in the policy-making process. This can include in-person presentation at public hearings on related bills, email to the House or Senate membership ahead of a vote, distribution to New Hampshire’s Congressional delegation or Executive Council, submission as public comment to various administrative departments, and more.
Q) Is this a form of lobbying?
A) Citizens Count is a strictly nonpartisan organization. We do not take a stance on the issues and do not present our testimony as an argument for or against a policy position. Our role is merely to serve as a source of valuable information for elected officials, and as a resource for citizens who wish to participate in government.
Q) How do you know the people responding are from New Hampshire?
A) Citizens Count makes every effort to ensure that only responses from New Hampshire residents are counted. Responses to our questions from individuals outside New Hampshire are filtered from our reports.
Q) How do you arrive at your totals?
A) Citizens Count staffers collect all responses to a question, whether received via our website comment form, Facebook, or other platforms. These are consolidated into a spreadsheet. At least three Citizens Count staff members review each response and determine whether it constitutes a ‘yes’ response, ‘no’ response, or ‘other’, such as comments on related issues or general remarks. Only one response from each individual New Hampshire citizen is counted in this manner.
Q) How are sample quotes chosen for the reports?
A) Our editors select sample comments in each category of respondent - yes, no, and other - that represent the most commonly voiced opinions from the discussion. Though only a sample of comments are included in our reports, a full list of responses from every individual New Hampshire resident accompanies the reports when they are presented in-person in Concord. The full list of comments is also available upon request when the reports are distributed to elected officials via email.
Q) How are Citizen Voices used?
A) In addition to targeted distribution to elected officials and policy-makers at key decision-making moments, each Citizen Voices report is published on the Citizens Count website, which currently hosts an archive of over 300 such summaries of discussions on a wide range of New Hampshire issues.
The reports are also included in our weekly Citizen Voices Update emails, which serve as a digest for activity related to Citizen Voices. These emails go out to a list of subscribers which includes the New Hampshire governor. Join the Citizen Voices Updates email list.
Q) What is Citizens Count?
A) Citizens Count is a nonpartisan nonprofit with a mission of making citizen engagement easier by providing objective information about issues and candidates, promoting the civil exchange of opinions in a variety of forums, and connecting citizens with their elected officials. The organization does not take a position on issues or endorse candidates or elected officials.
Do you have additional questions about Citizens Voices or our methodology? Please contact us.