Feeling Informed

Feedback in this project points to a gap in the voting experience.

“I am registered to vote but unfortunately have not done so since I was 18.”

Encouraging registration is not enough.

“Ill have to check it out when i get some free time.”

Busy lives.

Many folks are probably willing, maybe even interested. They just haven’t found an easy way to stay informed. Life in The Information Age should include a solution for this.

What if an email appeared regularly with information only about the issues and candidates affecting you…one that is tailored to your particular district or precinct?

Today, I turn my focus to the Resources page.

“I think [my boyfriend] just feels uneducated about issues on the ballots and doesn’t know where to go to do some good research on stuff.”

What is encouraging about that last quote is the amount of respect obviously given to the process. Still, it raises an important question…

What do you need to feel informed?

Posted in Mission, Resources Tagged with: , , ,

Seattle’s Progressive Agenda

Image by Theresa Thompson / (CC BY 2.0)

“Seattle is really one of the most interesting places in the country right now”

Reporting on one of the brighter spots in the 2015 election, John Nichols pointed to several progressive initiatives that passed in Seattle during an interview on Democracy Now!.

Among the local races and issues discussed:

  • first time majority-female City Council
  • innovative public financing law (see quote, below)
  • massive funding initiative for pedestrian, bike, public transit
  • Kshama Sawant‘s re-election
  • expansion of oversight for King County Sheriff’s Department

“Seattle appears to have passed [an] incredibly innovative public financing law that allows citizens to have vouchers that they then give to candidates, so that you actually have citizen-funded elections rather than big money-funded elections.”

All this, even with a low turnout.

Posted in Issues, Stories Tagged with: , , ,

More Canadians Go To Polls In 2015

image of Canadian man holding vote sign
Click image to open voter turnout article at CBC
Image by Sally T. Buck (CC BY-NC 2.0)

A “surge in voter turn-out” will result in Canadian liberals forming a new majority government with 68% of eligible voters casting a ballot.

What was the Elections Canada strategy? What is the lesson, here?

Posted in Stories Tagged with: , , ,

Many Hispanic Citizens Do Not Vote

Image by Uri Breitman
(CC Licensed: BY-NC 2.0)

Jim is a neighbor who volunteers to register voters. He recently told of a particular challenge in reaching out to Hispanic folks in the community, adding that they gave various reasons for not participating.

Later, when asked again about those reasons, he wrote ’em down.

  • afraid of showing their ignorance about how to operate voting machines
  • don’t understand the issues or which candidates will support their interests
  • they don’t know the candidates or the candidates don’t represent them
  • need to know where to vote
  • have gone to a place that has since been changed and then give up
  • don’t feel their vote is important
  • don’t feel included
  • don’t feel they are part of the process

It should come as no surprise that many Hispanic citizens do not vote…

they are just like everybody else.
Posted in Mission, Stories, Voter Registration Tagged with: , , ,

New Resources

A list of Resources has been added to the site (see links in navigation bar).

Information from various sites include:

  • How and Where to Register
  • State Registration Deadlines
  • Taking Time Off to Vote
  • Voting by Absentee Ballot

Contact us if you don’t find what you’re after.

Posted in Resources Tagged with: , ,

Seattle elections draw attention

Image: Seattle by CheWei Chang (Flickr, CC Licensed BY-ND 2.0)

Two local elections in Seattle have made Ballotpedia‘s list of Top 10 elections to watch in November 2015, drawing attention to “potentially game-changing elections” across the U.S.

In a recent announcement, Ballotopedia pointed to these Seattle races:

  • Seattle Public Schools elections (2015)
    Four seats up for grabs “as the district wrestles with several issues connected to state legislation.”
  • Seattle City Council
    “All nine city council seats will be up for election, and the seven district members will serve four-year terms [marking] a significant moment in the city’s political history.”

At issue, according to The Seattle Times (article): “Seattle schools have one of [the] nation’s largest equity gaps.”

Additional information about Washington’s statewide elections can be found here:
Washington’s 2015 elections

Posted in Issues, Resources Tagged with: , , , , , ,

Larry Lessig’s single-issue “referendum” presidency

…will step down as soon as his goal of overhauling the nation’s campaign finance and elections system is realized.
Harvard law prof jumping into 2016 presidential race (Boston Herald)

Will he first need to commit to a particular running mate in order for this campaign to rally support?

Posted in Issues

Gun rights vs. rights of minors?

Prinnie and Mahalia Singing With 600,000 Kid’s in Sydney

The death of a shooting range instructor in Arizona raises several questions in the mind of this citizen. But, before jumping up on the soap box I want to just say:

Children should be laughing, running, and singing.

I find myself to upset by this story. ([same link as above] Please follow link.) Curiously, many news reports are using the word “tragedy” in describing the incident. That challenges my perception. If there is a tragedy here, it might be that a 9-year-old girl faces an entire lifetime with the memory of this “tragedy”…an event for which her parents are responsible.

Learning about another preventable death in the U.S.A did not disturb me.

Learning that it was death from from an automatic firearm did not disturb me.

What disturbs me is learning that there are parents here in the United States that believe their young daughter should hold and operate an automatic weapon.

Where, when, how does it stop? Not sure where to turn, I have begun to look for information regarding the rights of minors. That is the best I come up with: educate myself.

Meanwhile, are you registered to vote? If so, please consider accepting this site’s Challenge. If not, please visit this page.

#gunrights vs. #FUNrights

Posted in Issues, Stories Tagged with:

online voter registration experience

ROCK THE VOTE‘s online voter registration tool delivers a very smooth user experience; account sign-up, installation of widget, the voter registration process…all were simple, well-informed.

Today I completed the online voter registration form, right here at OtP, and the PDF is waiting in my hard drive. Already registered to vote, I still might print it out just to complete the experience…the PDF looks great.

screen capture of voter registration form produced by online app
Screenshot of voter registration form (PDF) produced
by online app. Note the addy for my Sec’y of State
is provided, as well as a reminder of deadline
(Click for full size image)

Important: The online application merely produces a document that must be printed out and mailed in, after stuffing it in an envelope which is also provided in the PDF.

Make a mailer. Fold the form and address sheet in half.
Make sure the address is visible on the outside.
Tape or staple the folded form at the bottom to create
the mailer. Alternately, place your form in an envelope
and hand address it to the Secretary of State.

The final document is very informative. For example, instructions are included that cover Federal law regarding first-time registration.

information for first time registrants
(Click for full size image)
If you are registering to vote for the first time
[by mail]…Federal law requires…proof of identification
…[which can include] A current and valid photo
identification or a current utility bill, bank statement,
government check, paycheck, or government document that
shows your name and address.

…and thorough instructions about requirements in one’s own state are included…

screen capture of voter registration form showing details pertaining to my own state requirements

I find it is difficult to express just how easy this has been…so, if you are ready to roll, just click here to ROCK (THE VOTE).

Posted in Resources, Voter Registration Tagged with: , , ,

using the voter registration tool

On mention of installing the online voter registration tool from ROCK THE VOTE, someone asked “How do they know if the person signing up is a U.S. citizens?”

I had not tried it, but later captured this screenshot from the page three of the form.

screen capture with following instructions...you must provide your driver's license number, If you do not have a driver's license number. you must provide the last four digits of your Social Security number. If you do not have either number, enter NONE and a unique identifying number will be assigned to you by the state.
Instructions for completing Rock The Vote’s online registration

It seems that—since the online tool merely produces a registration form (PDF), to be printed out and mailed to a Secretary of State—it does not check the identity or citizenship of the individual. That is left to the state to verify.

Rock The Vote has developed a robust widget. A moment before, given my locality, the online tool shared information about registration in my state.
Posted in Resources, Voter Registration Tagged with: ,