A recent poll says that WA residents may be experiencing initiative overload. Here are two tools you can use to make better sense of your ballot, considering we have near record number of initiatives printed on it this year.
The first is a new website unveiled this week at Seattle City Club’s recent lunch event. It’s called the Living Voters Guide, and it’s funded by the National Science Foundation. Not only is the idea really cool with an easy to understand layout, it is also a multi-pronged tool that can be used to serve numerous roles.
1. To help educate voters on ballot initiatives, including Pros/Cons (you can fill in and share your own!), as well as your stance compared to others.
2. To grab valuable data on the initiative process itself.
The team behind the Living Voters Guide includes researchers at the Center for Communication and Civic Engagement at the University of Washington. I can’t say for certain what they will do with all this great data they are collecting (not just people’s opinions, but how long they spend forming those opinions) but I’m sure it can potentially reveal some key insights on how functional and democratic the initiative process is, (or perhaps isn’t).
3. To influence voters who would otherwise be undecided, and possibly recruit voters who would otherwise skip the initiative, feeling like they don’t know enough to make an informed decision.
I am also giving bonus thumbs up because The Living Voter Guide is built on an open source platform. Something new called ConsiderIt that apparently enables the creation of crowd interactive pro/con lists.
On top of that, a bonus bonus toes up because they have an easy to understand Privacy and Data collection policy that anonymizes the users IP address and Geolocation (through one way hash tag encryption), thus allowing people to contribute their opinions without worrying about retaliation for saying something controversial.
NEAT PROJECT! BEST OF LUCK FELLAS!
A second website to try is called BallotPedia.
It’s built with the same exact technology as the ever lovable Wikipedia, and functions just about the same.
Definitely worth an exploration.
Let us know about your experiences with these tools in the comments or over at our Community. I’m anxious to see how they are being adopted.