As voters scrambled for new ways to raise their voices after Election Day, two Silicon Valley engineers introduced Resistbot — a tool that turns voters’ text messages into notes faxed directly to their members of Congress.
In the weeks after its March launch, Resistbot has spiked in popularity: Voters have sent roughly 800,000 pages’ worth of political opinions to their elected officials. And the flood of activity has come as its creators embark on an expansion, far beyond faxes to Capitol Hill.
Beginning this month, Resistbot users can share their views about health care, immigration, taxes or anything else not just with congressional lawmakers but also state governors and local newspapers, according to one of its founders, Jason Putorti, who spoke with Recode this week.
In the launch version of Resistbot, a concerned voter would text the word “resist” to a number, and the bot would reply by asking for a name and zip code. Using that information, the bot would determine one’s elected officials — and from there, a user could tap out a message, hit send, and their text would be transformed into a fax sent to their lawmaker’s offices.
Now, though, Resistbot users can also interact with the service through other platforms like Facebook Messenger and Amazon’s Alexa, and they can send notes to a wider variety of public officeholders. Those who continue using the app to contact policymakers will unlock the ability to take additional actions — from connecting with lawmakers’ offices by phone, to transforming their texts into old-fashioned, signed snail-mail letters.
For the tool’s creators — Putorti and Eric Ries, who started it as a side project — the congressional debate over health care reform offered one indication of voters’ heightened desire to be politically active. On March 24, as the House of Representatives debated a Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, Resistbot helped deliver more than 150,000 pages’ worth of faxes to lawmakers’ offices, its founders estimate.
Resistbot doesn’t tell its users how to vote, though Putorti estimates an overwhelming number of its users oppose Trump and support progressive causes. The app aims to begin informing its most active users — those who continue sending messages over a few days — when major votes or issues come before regulators so that they can take action.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.