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Citizens Use Mobile Devices to Respond

City gathers instant, anonymous public input with interactive polling and mobile response solutions.


In order to create the best environment for residents, many government decisions are based on community feedback. Government entities in Vancouver, Washington reach out to citizens regarding issues such as service levels, budget and spending preferences. Gathering citizen opinions is a difficult task when dealing with a wide range of communications styles. In order to expand how they gathered live opinions, City Performance Auditor and Management Analyst Tom Nosack began to investigate a way to electronically collect input.


After discovering TurningPoint interactive polling software at a local conference, Nosack purchased an audience response system with a small grant. TurningPoint was integrated into town-hall meetings, neighborhood meetings, internal sexual harassment training, as well as community-based meetings with other outside groups that impact Vancouver life. The city incorporated TurningPoint's mobile response solution to gather opinions. Interested participants were invited to a live, on-site meeting using traditional clicker keypad voting hardware. Participants wanting to partake from an off-site location could easily view a broadcast or webcast and answer questions in real-time using any Internet-connected device and the mobile response app.


The city has seen great success with the response system technology. In its mobile responding event, a total of 73% of participants answered the question "What did you think of using the new response technology?" with a high or very high approval rating. Nosack explains that people love using the system and it keeps everyone alert and engaged - from a crowd of 10-15 in smaller focus groups to over 60 attendees at a time. With its growing popularity, the audience voting system is treated as a city resource that is reserved and booked ahead of time and loaned out to other organizations.