November 7 is approaching fast and Vote.CTNewsJunkie.com, our Voter Guide & Candidate Questionnaire site, is back for a second time to help you navigate your local elections.
We built the site last year as a public service to fill the growing void of information about local and legislative elections. Today there are towns in Connecticut that no longer have the benefit of a full- or even part-time reporter covering their news or interviewing all the candidates for municipal or legislative elections.
This is a catastrophe on many levels.
Information is a crucial part of the infrastructure of representative democracy, and on November 7 Connecticut voters will go to the polls to choose between perhaps 5,000 people to serve in maybe 3,000 different municipal offices. Once elected, they will make crucial, local policy decisions and will have a bigger impact on your day-to-day life than the president. They will make decisions about education policy, trash removal, property taxes, road improvements, etc.
And since voter turnout in these elections is typically much lower than in presidential election years, your vote will have a greater impact as well. We want to make it an informed one.
As such, in an effort to make use of new technology to gather information directly from the candidates themselves, we set up Vote.CTNewsJunkie.com to invite them to fill out their profile and answer some basic questions about why they are running for office.
Thus far we have about 1,000 candidates from 51 of Connecticut’s 169 towns in the system, and candidates have begun logging in to fill out the survey.
If you are a local town committee chairperson and didn’t receive an email from us, first check your spam folder. We got all of your email addresses from the state party chairs.
If our email with the subject line “info request for Vote.CTNewsJunkie.com project” is not there, let us know and we will resend the information.
If you are a candidate and your town is not yet listed at the top of the Vote.CTNewsJunkie.com site, that means we never got your town’s candidate data. Contact your committee chairperson or, if he or she is too swamped, let us know and we’ll send you the spreadsheet for you to get us information on your and fellow candidates.
The value of participation here is two-fold: Our system is set up not only to collect the information from the candidates for voters’ use, but we’ve also made it easy for campaigns to promote their candidates individually on social media. Each candidate page is content that can be pushed out to potential voters on Facebook, Twitter or elsewhere. And also have added an “endorse” button through which voters can endorse their preferred candidate.
If you are a town committee chairperson and you did not receive an email from us requesting the data about a week ago, first check your email spam folder. If the email is not there, let us know and we will resend the information.
Our gratitude goes out to Matt Zagaja, who once again improved this site this year based on our scattered, disjointed ideas. Thanks Matt!
And if you or your organization would like to sponsor the site this year, let us know.