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Voters' Guides


  • Voters' Guides educate voters.  They are a source of voting information designed to give you quick, relevant information that will equip you to make votes consistent with your value system.  They help voters understand the issues, and help them to find a candidate who represents their values.  They provide personal and political information about candidates; voting records; facts and not labels; and summaries of complex issues—so that citizens can get a better feel for the way the candidates will represent their constituents.  They also provide responses to candidate surveys, and voters can find out who has endorsed the candidates.  
  • Printed Voters' Guides are not provided in Spokane County for every election.  As a result, many voters feel inadequately informed of both issues and candidates—depending largely on name recognition from campaign posters (a very poor substitute) and mailed brochures. 

  • Be ADVISED –  All Voters are required to go “online” to retrieve most voter information.  See some of the online Voters' Guides listed below. 

  • Spokane County does not have the approximately $80,000 to pay for voters’ guides.  It is the city and county schools and fire districts who fund this pamphlet—not the candidates themselves. 

  • "People are unhappy with government in general, and some feel they don't have enough information on some of the issues," said Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton, in response to an anticipated low voter turnout in 2013.  (Low vote turnout expected today, by Jim Camden, The Spokesman-Review, November 5, 2013)
In past years, those who took the time to study the issues also took the time to go to the polls.  Now that ballots are mailed into homes, more people are casting ballots.  Many may be uninformed voters marking ballots by simply guessing, or voting on name recognition from campaign posters, instead of casting an educated vote.  Thus, the reason Spokane should provide a Voters' Guide mailed for each election.

The State of Washington publishes a Voters' Pamphlet for General Elections only.    

What You Can Do:
  • Study Voters' Guides Online.  They are a source of voting information designed to give you quick, relevant information that will equip you to make votes consistent with your value system.  You can see responses to candidate surveys and also find out who has endorsed them.

  • Encourage greater simplification of the Voters' Guides.  Voter’s pamphlets/guides must be simplified to better educate the voter.  They are usually written in a language which is so formal and particular, that it is away from the normal conversational style—causing confusion and creating difficulty for many in understanding both complicated issues and the values of the candidates.

    To further state this thought
    —Research indicates that 50-75% of college students lack the skills to perform complex literacy tasks, and cannot understand the arguments of newspaper editorials.  (“College Students’ Literacy in Doubt,” AP, Ben Feller writer, The Spokesman-Review, approx. Jan. 20, 2006) 

  • Voters' Guides are not provided for local elections, due to the expense to print and mail them.   The only voters' guides Spokane receives are mailed by the Secretary of State.  Petition local leaders to provide a Voters' Guide for each local election. 

  • Seek to improve the effectiveness of campaign advertising—which is credited to increased voter turnout.  Exchange campaign posters for voters' guides, by asking candidates to help fund the printing and distribution of voters' guides to all registered voters before each local election.  Many citizens would pay a small fee to cover the cost of printing, if the guides were accessible. 

    Campaign posters have at least 3 disadvantages.
  1. Posters clutter our community for over 6 months, from May until November, during the campaign season.  Some are posted before the candidate has even filed; and some remain in place after the Primary election, waiting for the General Election. 

  2. Posters do little but cement name recognition into voters’ minds.  Citizens need far more than name recognition to mark a ballet for a candidate who represents their values and positions on various issues.      

  3. Posters waste money which could be better used to promote each candidate’s background, experience, voting record, and other pertinent information (instead of simple name recognition) across various media sources and in a voters guide for each election—which could be mailed with each ballot.   

Resources:

Spokane Voters' Guides
KSPS – Election 2013
http://www.ksps.org/programming/ksps-productions/election/

We Believe We Vote
Uses traditional values to make informed voter recommendations.  Their Board  meets with most of the candidates for contested offices in greater Spokane, asks the hard questions in personal interviews, evaluates their answers using a Conservative standard, and posts their recommendations on their website. 
http://WeBelieveWeVote.com  


Washington State Voters' Guides
Pastors Picks
Pastor Joe Fuiten is involved with Family Policy Institute of Washington in the Seattle area; however, many of his picks sometimes impact our area.  He also posts other pro-family/conservative educational links. 
http://pastorspicks.com/
Washington Policy Council on initiatives:

Washington State Elections and Voters' Guide  (from the Secretary of State)
http://www.sos.wa.gov/elections/

Audio and plain text voters' pamphlets are available at
http://www.vote.wa.gov/accessible
Subscribe to receive a copy on CD or USB drive at (800) 448-4881. 

Washington’s Food Fight – The Debate over GMO Labels
Should genetically modified food be labeled?  TVW Public Affairs goes in-depth to learn about GMOs and break down the arguments for and against Initiative 522 in Washington's Food Fight: The Debate Over GMO Labels. 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9KoqUeqbx4  (published Oct. 1, 2013) 


Additional Resources


Ballot questions for Spokane County?
Visit the candidate pages
http://spokesmanreview.com/elections 

Spokane County Elections Office
1033 W. Gardner Avenue
8:30-4:00 M-Friday
(509) 477-2320
http://spokanecounty.org/elections

Washington State Elections Office
Change your address, or check your voting history. Locate sites where you can drop off ballots.
View Voter Guides.
http://secstate.wa.gov/elections and click on “My Vote.”



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