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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.

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