Local elections can be difficult to follow, from keeping track of multiple candidates to understanding ballot questions. A new initiative in Miami aims to help people get informed and involved in the election of representatives in local government.
The Miami Herald is joining local social entrepreneurship organization Radical Partners to launch Vote Miami, a campaign to foster more robust civic engagement and greater participation in local elections. The effort includes compiling important information about candidates and ballot questions into a user-friendly platform called BallotReady, where voters can find candidates’ platforms and the Herald’s coverage of local politics and government.
“Civically engaged communities are stronger communities. That’s why we’re thrilled to be working with the Miami Herald to bring Vote Miami to life,” said Sarah Emmons, managing director at Radical Partners. “It’s an opportunity for us to together bring transparency to government by sharing candidate information, analyzing voter turnout data, and aggregating campaign finance data in a way that helps locals make informed decisions about who they vote for.”
On VoteMiami.org, people can access voter turnout data, a tool for voters to understand their ballot and campaign finance information. The Herald will use this data in its coverage of the candidates and the issues.
The initiative will focus on increasing turnout in areas where turnout has historically been low and exploring the issues that matter to the community.
This fall, four Miami-Dade cities will elect municipal officials who set property tax rates, approve neighborhood-transforming real estate developments and make decisions on how to spend taxpayers’ money: Miami, Hialeah, Miami Beach and Homestead. Vote-by-mail ballots were sent to voters this week. Election Day is Nov. 5.
“We think this partnership will bring more information about these important local elections to more potential voters,” said Herald managing editor Rick Hirsch. “We hope it not only will create more interest engaging with our local governments, but more informed engagement.”