WikiProp makes it easy to read the original text of laws, bills, and ballot measures. We also offer “plain English,” unbiased explanations section by section. We’re volunteer-run, open-source, and always looking for people with a passion for justice and open access to information.
It’s built & maintained by me, Jérémy Chevallier, as a passion project.
An idea born of frustration
I first had the idea for WikiProp back in 2012, when I tried to educate myself on the ballot measures coming up that fall. Being tired of the propaganda on both sides, I wanted to read the original texts of each proposition myself, and come to my own conclusions.
As a student studying graphic design, I quickly became enraged at how frustratingly difficult it was just to read the original texts, before even trying to understand the legislative jargon:
I decided I would find a way to make laws easier to read and understand for the vast majority of people out there who aren’t practicing policymakers or attorneys.
A design inspired by simplicity
By 2016, I had come up with a “plain English” two-column layout inspired by 500px’s Terms of Service, and I was itching to get feedback on it from people in the political industry. I also wanted to learn more about how ballot propositions were actually put into law.
I sat down to coffee with Carlos Alfaro from the Marijuana Policy Project, the organization behind AZ Prop 205 to legalize marijuana possession and consumption. At the time, it had just been defeated on the ballot, and we talked at length about the vast amounts of money that had been spent campaigning for this measure.
Indeed, while many people I knew were in favor of legalizing cannabis, word spread that the ballot initiative was not written optimally. In short, people felt that there was a better way to legalize it. Ultimately the measure was defeated, and over $6 million went down the toilet.
A eureka moment for the business model
It was at this point that I realized WikiProp could be more than just a consumer-facing tool to improve our understanding of bills, laws, and other legislation. I truly realized the staggering size of the billion-dollar markets behind some of the most hotly debated political subjects known to America.
And I realized that there was an opportunity to connect concerned voters with lawmakers like nothing the world has ever seen before. In this moment, WikiProp’s business model was born, fueling my utopian vision for a world in which policymaking is not only accessible to all, but also enjoyable… dare I say addicting?
A vision brought to life by passion
Imagine what’s possible by drastically improving the grueling process of educating ourselves on upcoming ballot measures. Imagine a platform that uses technology and data to help voters and lawmakers collaborate on fair, relevant, necessary policy. You’re here at the very inception.
For now, WikiProp is a place to read & understand laws. We’re applying typographic principles to original texts to make them more scannable, and writing original content in “plain English” to explain things section by section.
We hope to build a following of raving fans who come to WikiProp hungry for knowledge and understanding. We hope that they will turn WikiProp into a community of people discussing the best way to explain laws, and where there’s room for improvement.
I know that by building technology that helps people educate themselves, we can empower a new generation of lawmakers. The same way Uber has empowered millions of drivers and PubLoft is tapping into an equally massive global workforce, WikiProp can empower millions of voters everywhere to