Collaboration in Civic Spheres

Living Voters Guide Stokes Debate On WA Ballot Measures

by Matt Rosenberg September 27th, 2010

With a grant from the National Science Foundation, The Living Voters Guide for Washington state has been brought to life. It educates and involves voters in a series of Washington state ballot measures to be decided this fall. Election Day is November 2. Old-fashioned voters guides have always been useful, but static. Utilizing easy online tools, the Living Voters Guide lives up to its name. You’re able to get a synopsis of each ballot measure, read the full text if desired, and then review brief arguments pro and con, and add your own. Other than an important requirement to be civil and constructive, there is no gatekeeping, opening up the conversation to a broader group than in letters to the editor, and with a more welcoming bi-partisan approach than many online political sites.

This is a promising experiment in community-building, pegged to decisions that really matter. Initiatives under discussion include the state income tax proposal, liquor privatization, extra-majority requirements to raise state taxes, and more. Give the Living Voters Guide a try. Congratulations to the City Club of Seattle and partners at University of Washington and Reinspire Me LLC for creating this excellent tool for civic conversation and voter education. (UPDATE, 9/28/10: The Living Voters Guide creators share more in an op-ed in today’s Seattle Times).

And, on a separate note, make sure to sign up for our own Countywide Community Forums Round 6, and participate by the Oct. 23 deadline so your voice can be counted in to the conversation about King County’s budget crisis.

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