California Voter information
Best practices for official voter information guides.
How do we get the right kind of information to potential voters at the right time, in the right place. While the problem of participation and engagement is larger than voter information, we can make voter information more effective, more inviting, and more useful.
Our research for the Future of California Elections and the League of Women Voters of California Education Fund explores how voters (including new voters, registered non-voters and potential voters) find information about elections, and what works — and doesn’t work — about their current sources.
Voters need information that:
- bridges civic literacy gaps
- makes information easy to read
- is in words they understand
Recommendations and a checklist for voter guides that answer the questions voters need, raise voter confidence and increase participation.
This project explored how voters (including new voters, registered non-voters, infrequent voters, and potential voters) find information about elections, and what works (and doesn’t work) about their current sources to learn:
- what sources of information voters use to learn about elections
- what questions they ask, and how they ask those questions
- what they find confusing about elections terminology and materials
All voters want to know what is on the ballot. They start with the questions, “what will I be voting for?” and, “How will the decisions we make in the election affect me?” But there are also differences in the information people need and want.
Non-voters often do not know where to start, and look for trusted guides. They need to connect to the community, through:
- civics literacy
- demystifying the act and logistics of voting
- justifying the value of voting
- plain language
- in-language materials
Infrequent voters need to connect daily life to issues and candidates, through:
- simple, clear information about candidates and issues
- details about options for voting
EFFORT UNDERWAY IN CALIFORNIA TO LEGALIZE INTERNET VOTING: If 420,000 Voters Sign Petition, Initiative Could Appear On November 2000 ... An article from: EDP Weekly's IT Monitor
Book (Millin Publishing, Inc.)
What is a Voter information card?
A form that tells you where and when to vote.
How useful are the Official California Voter Information Guides?
When I was a California resident and voted there, I found them quite useful, with one irritation: the analysis from the Legislative Analyst doesn't perform any economic analysis - they just say (in more flowery language), "I don't know" even on issues where there would be agreement from all mainstream economists.
As for the pro & con arguments, those are good fun, and given that each gets a rebuttal, they work pretty well.