Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

Build A Slatecard With DemDash

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Tuesday, November 6 2012

As PBS Newshour reported Monday, voters across the United States will be asked to vote on an unusually high number of ballot measures this year.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, voters in 38 states will consider 174 statewide measures. Colorado voters are being asked whether recreational use of marijuana should be legalized. Meanwhile, voters in Maine are being asked whether same-sex marriage should be legalized. In California, voters will have to decide whether companies should be required to label their products if any part of it has been genetically modified. (That proposition is just one of 11 statewide propositions on the ballot this year.)

If you're a voter who's done your homework, and feel that you want to share your opinions about the choices on the ballot this year, Dan Ancona, a software developer in San Francisco, has built a tool you could use to do a little bit of last-minute electioneering. It's called DemDash. Among its many other features, the site enables you to create a slatecard and share your choices from president on down to city-level propositions, and then to share those choices on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

DemDash is yet another project with fascinating potential that is partly enabled by the New Organizing Institute's Ballot Information Project.

Like Votizen, DemDash was created in the hopes that thoughtful and passionate individuals might inform the process of voting on important societal issues, rather than torrents of anonymous money siphoned into vitriolic television ads and mailers. But like Votizen, it has yet to gain critical mass.

"Someone is going to figure this out," Ancona said in a recent phone conversation,"There's no way 10 years from now that we're going to be making voting decisions based on TV ads and mail, at least I hope not."

The people behind DemDash and Votizen are clearly not the only ones feeling that there must be a fundamental change to the partisan process of elections and governing. Google Co-Founder Sergey Brin took to Google+ Tuesday afternoon to plead with whoever wins to abandon their party and to govern as an independent.

News Briefs

RSS Feed thursday >

NYC Open Data Advocates Focus on Quality And Value Over Quantity

The New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications plans to publish more than double the amount of datasets this year than it published to the portal last year, new Commissioner Anne Roest wrote last week in an annual report mandated by the city's open data law, with 135 datasets scheduled to be released this year, and almost 100 more to come in 2015. But as preparations are underway for City Council open data oversight hearings in the fall, what matters more to advocates than the absolute number of the datasets is their quality. GO

Civic Tech and Engagement: Announcing a New Series on What Makes it "Thick"

Announcing a new series of feature articles that we will be publishing over the next several months, thanks to the support of the Rita Allen Foundation. Our focus is on digitally-enabled civic engagement, and in particular, how and under what conditions "thick" digital civic engagement occurs. What we're after is answers to this question: When does a tech tool or platform enable actual people to make ongoing and significant contributions to each other, to a place or cause, at a scale that produces demonstrable change? GO

monday >

Tweets2Rue Helps Homeless to Help Themselves Through Twitter

While most solutions to homelessness focus on addressing physical needs -- a roof over the head and food to eat -- one initiative in France known as Tweets2Rue knows that for the homeless, a house is still not a home, so to speak: the homeless are often entrenched in a viscous cycle of social isolation that keeps them invisible and powerless. GO

Oakland's Sudo Mesh Looks to Counter Censorship and Digital Divide With a Mesh Network

In Oakland, a city with deep roots in radical activism and a growing tech scene at odds with the hyper-capital-driven Silicon Valley, those at the Sudo Room hackerspace believe that the solution to a wide range of problems, from censorship to the digital divide, is a mesh net, a type of decentralized network that is resilient to censorship and disruption and can also bring connectivity to poor communities.

GO

More