Every ten years, legislative districts change under a constitutionally-mandated process called “reapportionment.” Using 2010 Census data, many states are now in the midst of redrawing their Congressional and state legislative districts in order to keep legislative boundaries in balance with population shifts. Several states will gain or lose congressional House seats, based on these population shifts from 2000-2010. (See map below)
These changes can cause lots of confusion. For election voting purposes, the new districts will be in effect for the November 2012 elections. But, members of Congress who are elected in November 2012 will not be sworn in until January 2013. In the interim, Congress may hold a “lame duck” session after the November elections. During this time, members who lost their November 2012 elections will still be able to vote.
In order to target communications most effectively, Rally Congress will continue to direct communications to existing members during a lame duck session. This ensures communications are going to voting members of Congress for maximum advocacy impact. Some of the biggest votes of the year may be held at an end-of-the-year lame duck session and Rally Congress is committed to delivering your communications to those active, voting members.
As soon as the current Congress adjourns “sine die”, and is done with all business, we will shift the Rally Congress system to the incoming officials and districts. This usually happens in December. For any newly-elected freshman lawmakers, we will store and queue all letters until their constituent intake systems are up and running in January. At that point, we’ll deliver those messages. This is our third Congressional transition, and the House of Representatives technology team is very fast in deploying these systems for new members of Congress.
At the state level, four states (Virginia, Mississippi, Louisiana, and New Jersey) had 2011 off-year elections and are already using their new state legislative districts. Rally Congress has already adjusted our custom systems and maps for these state legislatures. For the remaining states, their new districts will go into effect in 2013 as the new state legislative bodies are sworn in. Rally Congress will continue to update those states as the new districts go into official use.
Finally, reapportionment means that the district data stored with your supporter records will become incorrect. Once the current Congress adjourns, will we automatically update all supporter addresses with the new district data so that your exports of supporter records remain accurate and current.
1 year ago
Google’s new social network offering, is gaining early traction and already has millions of users. You can learn more about Google + from the company’s demo.
Given the importance and reach of Google, including the potential to improve your Rally Congress pages’ standing in Google’s search engine results, we have adding Google + buttons in most of the social network menus across Rally Congress.
1 year ago
Facebook is launching a new social feature, the “Send” button. This is similar to the “email-a-friend” functionality which Rally Congress already offers, except that it works within a user’s Facebook account. As Facebook describes it:
The Send button is a social plugin that websites can use to let people send a link to a friend through Facebook Messages, post it to a Group, or email it to an individual….
The Send button drives traffic by letting users send a link and a short message to the people that would be most interested. They don’t need to leave the web page they’re on or fill out a long, annoying form. Compared to the alternatives, the Send button has fewer required steps, and it removes the need to look up email addresses by auto-suggesting friends and Groups.
This feature is already live on all Rally Congress accounts that have Facebook Recommend buttons activated. This adds another integration point with Facebook and makes it even easier for your supporters to share your calls-to-action.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us!
2 years ago
A new Congress was elected this month, and will be formally sworn-in the first week of January. In the meantime, the old 111th Congress is currently finishing its work in a “lame duck” legislative session that will probably last until mid-December.
Since the current House members and Senators are still the official representatives, they continue to have voting power and constituent responsibilities. As such, the outgoing 111th Congress remains the constituent contact targets in Rally Congress. Since this can be confusing for users, we’ve added a short message that explains that the 111th Congress is still completing its work.
There are a couple of notable exceptions— Sens. Coons and Manchin filled seats mid-term, so they are already Senators and are live in Rally Congress. Similarly, two House seats were vacant and Congress seated those new winning members this week.
Once this Congress adjourns in December, we will completely shift the system over to the new incoming members of the 112th Congress. During this transition, users will can then take action towards the new Congress, and we will hold all messages and deliver them as soon as the 112th Congress is online the first week of January. The U.S. House does a great job getting the contact forms up and running, so we expect to be delivering messages in early January.
Some advocacy ideas for the transition include creating a “greeting” call-to-action that welcomes the new Congress and highlights your organization’s legislative goals for the 112th Congress. Good luck and as always, let us know if you have any questions!
2 years ago
There are three newly vacant seats this month:
Georgia, 9th : Rep. Nathan Deal resigned on March 21, 2010.
New York, 29th : Rep. Eric J. J. Massa resigned on March 8, 2010.
Hawaii, 1st : Rep. Neil Abercrombie resigned on February 28, 2010.
As always, Rally Congress will hold messages from these districts until the offices are once again occupied and ready to receive constituent communications.
3 years ago
We were out today courtesy of a 4x4, and took this shot of the U.S. Capitol covered in about a foot and a half of snow!
3 years ago
After Tuesday’s special election, Massachusetts interim Senator Paul Kirk, Jr., is resigning and the Senate is moving to officially seat Senator-Elect Scott Brown. Rally Congress has made the change in our system and will store all messages to Sen.-Elect Brown. We deliver the messages once he is officially confirmed and sets up a communications channel. Please let us know if you have any questions!
3 years ago
The U.S. House of Representatives returned to its full complement of 435 members as voters in California’s 10th and New York’s 23rd District filled those vacant offices.
The nation’s newest Congressmen won’t have much time to relax. Rep-elect John Garamendi is flying to Washington today from northern California, and Rep-elect Bill Owens is heading down from New York for their formal swearing-in ceremony.
Rally Congress has updated the system and will begin delivery of all messages once these new Reps. have set up communications channels.
3 years ago
The U.S. Senate is back to a full membership of 100 as the Massachusetts Governor selected attorney Paul Kirk, Jr. to temporarily fill late Senator Ted Kennedy’s seat until a special election is held in early 2010.
3 years ago
Today, the U.S. Senate swore in George LeMieux as Florida’s thirty-fourth Senator. He replaces retiring Senator Mel Martinez, whose term ends next year.
Sen. LeMieux is a Florida attorney and former chief of staff to Florida Governor Charlie Crist. Sen. LeMieux says he will not run for the seat in 2010.
3 years ago