We help communities choose and communicate questions to politicians by providing tools for running asynchronous online town halls. Community members submit and rank questions for political candidates. Candidates can post responses, and the community is given a chance to vote on the replies. Voting in this round is not whether or not a user likes an answer, but strictly whether or not the question posed was actually answered.
CommunityCOUNTS grew out of the 2008 American presidential election. In spring 2007 YouTube announced its You Choose '08 Spotlight. Many YouTube users were excited for the chance to interact with candidates, but given the conversational tone of YouTube its user' propensity for long threaded discussion, many felt there was more to be done for the promotion of real dialogue. So the idea arose organically for viewers vote on what videos they want addressed by the candidates?
After building up interest and running vote tallies within comment threads, David Colarusso (then a high school teacher) created and launched CommunityCounts dot US with the help of fellow YouTube users James Kotecki, Jamie Bernstein, and Esther Brady. The site allowed people to vote on Spotlight video replies with the hope that candidates would listen to the same voters they were trying to win over. The group explained its reasoning in a techPresident OpEd, Let the Two-Way Conversation Begin, and though it never quite reached critical mass, it put the idea out there, even adapting a portion of the site to aid in Congressman George Miller's AskGeorge initiative...
CommunityCOUNTS and the projects we power occasionally show up in the press. Here is some of our favorite coverage, going back to our launch in 2007. Included are articles on the original communityCOUNTS along with various iterations of 10Questions and "Ask The President," forums we have powered here in the US. Our Mexican and Brazilian projects are not covered here.