News Blog for Seattle's Maple Leaf Neighborhood

 

It’s Election Day – Vote!

November 3rd, 2015 by Mike

You’ve had that ballot for weeks.

It has to be postmarked by today to be counted in this year’s general election.

As we wrote in October:

Seattle’s first-in-a-century election of city council members by district is the focus of our upcoming November general election.

But the ballot also features the largest levy in Seattle history, more than doubling the size of the transportation levy it replaces.

Today Crosscut has a piece looking at six things to watch in Seattle and statewide.

For an off-year election, there’s a lot riding on what voters decide today in Seattle, King County, and Washington state. An historically large tax levy is on the ballot in Seattle, as is new money for children’s programs in King County and a new attempt to require a two-thirds majority for state tax increases, which could have enormous implications for the state’s finances.

If ballot returns are any indication so far, these decisions will be made by less than half of registered voters.

Specifically on the transportation levy:

If Mayor Ed Murray’s $930 million transportation levy package passes, it will be spun as a continuation of the norm for Seattleites, proof that we’ll say yes to any new property tax. But if it fails, the implications are pretty enormous.

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Crowd-sourced Voters Guide gets librarian fact-checkers

November 3rd, 2012 by Mike

By Sarah Elson, UW News Lab

Most voters’ guides simply aim to inform. But the Living Voters Guide, which was created in 2010 by the University of Washington’s Engage Project and the Seattle civic nonprofit CityClub, strives to start discussions between voters to help them make sense of the major initiatives on the ballot. This year they’ve added librarian fact-checkers to make the crowd-sourced voters guide more trustworthy.

“The guide is kind of what people thought about these ballot measures,” explained Travis Kriplean, the developer of the Living Voters Guide. “The ballot measures are often controversial and also a bit hard to understand, so it seemed like a good way to get people to talk about them, because there are surprisingly few places for that to happen.”

The website summarizes each of the eight statewide initiatives and lists pros and cons from other users on either side, so voters can create their own list in the middle compiled of the factors that are most important to them.

Anyone can post on the guide as long as they have an account on the site. Kriplean estimated that about one out of every three people who visit the site actually contribute to it.

Kriplean said the guide’s strength is in showing what people are thinking about across the political spectrum. However, it doesn’t have a strong informational base, so it’s hard for users to discern which points are true.

To make the guide more trustworthy, he’s enlisted the help of Seattle Public Library librarians to fact-check claims that other users want verified. The librarians spend a maximum of two hours researching the claim and then write a report about whether the claim appears to be accurate. The report is posted within 48 hours.

“Our approach is not to say, ‘This person is right or wrong,’ or ‘This is true or false,’ but to say if it’s an accurate statement,” said Chance Hunt, Seattle library partnerships and government relations director. “We then provide citations and additional information for people (who) want to do their own level of comparison with the information that’s available.” [Read more →]

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