Vote na Web has a good focus: the Congress, which is usually overlooked in public discussion in Brazil once the Executivo branch of government has become a “superpower”. The Brazilian Congress is usually depicted as a place of horrors, full of corrupt and useless politicians. Well, unfortunately, that’s not a totally inadequate image, but for sure not every congresmen is a bad guy.
From this perspective, Vote na Web performs a very positive job as the project intends to exhibit, by using public data, an important part of congresspeople work: the bills representatives and senators present and how they all vote.
Additionally, Vote na Web’s webpage is very simple and intuitive. And I’m happy to learn the project has already reached 3,000 users. It’s a great start for a five-month-old project.
However, I see some minor problems in “Vote na Web”.
First, It is not clear what criteria is used to select the bills — assuming not all bills are listed by the project.
Second, the webpage does not correctly exhibit the author of the bill. Example: the famous “Ficha Limpa” bill is signed by 22 representatives, but only the first, in alphabetical order – Antonio Carlos Biscaia –, is pointed as the author in the home page of Vote na Web. Ok, if one goes to the bill’s internal page, he or she cand read the 22 names. However, when it comes to hugely known and celebrated bills, it does make a difference when your face is at the home page of a project like Vote na Web.
Third: it seems the bills sent to Congress by the Executive is not shown in Vote na Web. In the past years, the president has been the author of the most important bills in Brazil. It happens with Lula, just the same way as it had happened under FHC (Lula’s predecessor). According to a recent report, around 80% of the bills passed in the Congress have been proposed by the Executive.
Well, these three minor problems can be easily solved by the funders of the project. The most important challenge of Vote na Web, however, is much more difficult to achieve: I believe the project will not have offline impact if it does not reach a large number of people.
Only if politicians note hundreds of thousands or perhaps millions of people are continuously following the bills, they’ll consider voters' opinion.
In order to reach a larger number of visitor, Vote na Web will have to look for various partners in civil society, such as unions, religious groups, social movements, academic reasearchers, mainstream media. Otherwise, I won’t succeed, once in Brazil access to Internet is not widespread — and most of those who access the Internet do not use it for political purpose.
I wish Vote na Web luck. It won’t be easy to reach such a goal.


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