By Christopher Nelson.
Berkeley-based MapLight has partnered with the League of Women Voters of California Education Fund to combine all of the information found at the League’s Smart Voter website with the troves of campaign finance data MapLight is known for, creating the most robust single website for information concerning California elections, candidates and ballot measures: www.VotersEdge.org.
Voter’s Edge was first launched by MapLight in 2010 to combat all of the campaign rhetoric and advertisements meant to deceive voters as they attempt to make informed decisions. General mprovements have been made to donor and overall disclosure through recent legislation in Sacramento, but voters still need one place they can go for nonpartisan information curated by trusted sources. Voter’s Edge fills that need.
“Voters need a fair and trusted source for election information, and our pilot partnership with Smart Voter & Voter’s Edge provides that in a single easy-to-navigate website,” said Melissa Breach, League of Women Voters of California Education Fund’s Executive Director.
“Voter’s Edge gives you, the voter, the edge against all the biased, negative advertising,” said Daniel G. Newman, Co-Founder and President of MapLight. “It’s the quick, easy way to get the facts before you vote.”
The newly launched site will also, for the first time, offer a ballot-sharing feature developed with the aid of California Forward that will allow voters to not only preview their ballot, but actually fill a virtual one out than can then be printed and shared through email or any social media via a custom generated URL. California Forward had a hand in developing the sharing feature because we know finding credible election information is half the battle. Leveraging the sharing feature to foster thoughtful conversations about the candidates and issues, especially among Millennials who conduct their entire lives online, is the best way to make democracy go viral.
“California’s Millennials are an essential voice that must be heard if we want elected officials to be thinking about the future,” said James Mayer, CEO of California Forward. “We are honored to be working with MapLight and the League of Women Voters of California Education Fund to connect millennials to the information that can make them confident voters and to learn how to connect even better with young voters in future elections.”
The new site aims not only to inform voters, but to facilitate discussion that will hopefully spur higher levels of civic participation at the ballot box than California has seen in recent years where off-cycle turnout in particular has been dismal. Watch the above video to hear more from those involved with Voter’s Edge about why it’s such a vital tool for this election cycle and every election going forward.