On to the second round of “Ideas for Change in America”!

Also posted on the new Get FISA Right blog

Happy new year!

My idea Get FISA Right, repeal the PATRIOT Act, and restore our civil liberties finished #2 in the Criminal Justice category of change.org/MySpace’s Ideas for Change in America competition, and so has advanced to the second round.

We can revise the idea over the next couple of days (suggestions please!) and then second-round voting runs from January 5 to January 15.  We’ll be promoting it actively, of course.  There’ll be a press conference on January 16 to introduce the top 10, change.org will work with each of them to help build and promote national advocacy campaigns.  With change.org’s 200,000 members, proven ability to attack media attention, and a great list of partners for Ideas for Change in America, it’s a great opportunity …

And some really tough competition.

We finished the first round in the #10 overall, with 2171 votes; Pierre Loiselle’s Repeal the Patriot Act also made it into the second round at #2 in the “Other” category with 2068 votes, so there’s clearly a lot of support for civil liberties.  However, during the last week of the contest it was clear that a lot of other ideas organized much more effectively than we were, sending mail out to existing networks and getting prominent blog posts.*  And as Open for Questions on change.gov has clearly shown, advocates for for drug reform and a special prosecutor are very well organized.

So we’ll need to get creative — in terms of reaching out to our existing members (how many of our 23,000 can we get to vote?), forging new alliances, and getting the word out.   We’re about to launch our TV ad President Obama, please get FISA right, and that should get some publicity.  Change.org CEO Ben Rattray’s “congratulations!” mail has some other good suggestions:

4. You may edit the text of your idea anytime before the beginning of voting on Monday, January 5th.
5. We strongly encourage you to consider adding a short video (30– 90 seconds) describing your idea and its potential impact.
6. We also encourage you to recruit bloggers and nonprofits to indicate their support for your idea.  These “sponsors” will be listed on the right column alongside your idea and can be used to help raise awareness about your idea and to provide additional credibility.

We already do have a video up, our Don’t let our Constitution die from last July which I think is the most succinct statement of what’s wrong with the FISA Amendments Act.  It’s certainly worth taking another look at our idea; suggestions welcome on how to improve it.  And other ideas for promoting are welcome as well.  Our work’s cut out for us …

So congratulations to all for getting us this far … now, let’s get to work!


* a couple of examples: Jori Manske’s Bridging the Empathy Gap – Yes we can! went from nowhere to the #1 spot in Government Reform with 2361 votes in the last week; Ed Ciaccio’s END CORPORATE “PERSONHOOD” (which had been submitted over a month ago but was languishing in #13 in Other) made it to the top 3 after a diary on Daily Kos; and DreamACTivist’s Final push for pro-migrant ideas led to a late surge in the Immigration category.