We answer questions that candidates may have about the new joint project!
Q: What is the Voter’s Edge project?
A: Voter’s Edge is a joint project, in California, of MapLight and the League of Women Voters of California Education Fund’s Smart Voter (abbreviated in the remainder of this FAQ as “the Smart Voter / Voter’s Edge joint site”). It is an exciting pilot project begun for the June 3 California Primary Election and continuing through the November 4 California General Election. This partnership will provide Californians with essential and trustworthy resources to help them decide how to vote; including candidate data.
Q: What does this mean to me, a candidate, in the November 4 election?
A: Smart Voter has had a long history dating back to 1996 of asking all statewide candidates and all candidates in participating counties to supply information about themselves and their candidacy so that voters can make an informed decision. With the new LWVCEF and MapLight partnership, the information you provide to Smart Voter regarding your candidacy will be published on both Smart Voter and/or the Smart Voter / Voter’s Edge joint site giving even more voters an opportunity to see information about you.
Q. Is there a difference in the way the data will be displayed on the Smart Voter / Voter’s Edge joint site?
A: Yes. The new Smart Voter / Voter’s Edge joint site will have a very user-friendly graphic interface that looks quite different from the existing Smartvoter.org website. During the 2014 pilot, some information may not be displayed or may be displayed in a less graphically enhanced way, which we expect to continue to enhance and improve for future elections.
Q: What other information about my candidacy, if any, will be displayed on the new Smart Voter / Voter’s Edge joint site?
A: In addition to providing voters with the information you supply, we may also include some information from carefully selected publicly-available sources, especially for state level candidates. In particular, for state level candidates, the Smart Voter / Voter’s Edge joint site may include some publicly available biographical information and videos of policy speeches. All information included on the Smart Voter / Voter’s Edge joint site will follow League standards for being nonpartisan and unbiased. By using both public and candidate-supplied data we’ll be able to communicate more effectively and efficiently to an even larger audience than was previously possible.
Q: In what order will candidates for the same office be displayed on VotersEdge.org?
A: There may be some other things that you see that are different from how Smart Voter has operated in the past. Some elements, like having all the candidates' names on the same page and regularly rotating names, are very high standards established by SV that we were not able to implement for the pilot of Voter's Edge. Rest assured that we are looking closely at display decisions. While these issues may not be acted on now, they will be logged as a matter for post-pilot review and factored into an assessment as to whether or not the Pilot is successful in accomplishing our goals. The goals of course being to modernize, leverage our unique value, increase our impact, and expand our mission to engage and educate voters with nonpartisan information.
Q: When will the Smart Voter / Voter's Edge joint site be launched?
A. We launched the new pilot Smart Voter / Voter's Edge joint site as scheduled on October 3. All accesses to smartvoter.org are automatically redirected to the Voter's Edge site. This creates a seamless experience so that Smart Voter information can be easily accessed by voters on the new joint site.
Q: Will the new Smart Voter / Voter’s Edge joint site be accessible via mobile devices?
A: Yes, the Smart Voter / Voter’s Edge joint site is designed to work on mobile devices as well as a standard browser on a computer.
Q: Will all of the data I enter into Smart Voter appear on the new Smart Voter / Voter’s Edge joint site?
A: For the pilot project for the June 3 and November 4 California elections, we expect to be able to publish on the new Smart Voter / Voter’s Edge joint site all of the data provided by local candidates with the exception of the optional position papers and the campaign calendar. For state level candidates, we will source a photo for you from public sources and we will source some basic biographical information for you from public sources.
Q: I want to explain my positions on issues to voters. In the past, I’ve been able to publish up to three position papers on Smart Voter. How can I best share information with voters about my positions and priorities if the new Smart Voter / Voter’s Edge joint site will not include position papers?
A; We want voters to understand your positions on issues. Perhaps the best way to be sure voters understand your positions is to summarize them and put them on your Extended Political Philosophy page. If you have described your positions on your campaign web site, be sure to specify the address of your site in the Smart Voter forms, then the Smart Voter / Voter’s Edge joint site will link to your site and voters can find your positions there.
Q: In previous elections, my official campaign statement as printed in a county's sample ballot was published on my Smart Voter page. How can I be sure that voters see this statement online?
A: We recommend that you publish your official campaign statement on your extended political philosophy page or on your campaign web site. In previous elections, our volunteers optionally posted this information on Smart Voter. It will not be published separately on the Smart Voter / Voter's Edge pilot site.
Q: Specifically, what data that I submit to Smart Voter might be changed on the Smart Voter / Voter’s Edge joint site?
A: If you are a local candidate, nothing will change. If you are a candidate for state or federal office, the Smart Voter / Voter’s Edge joint site will replace the information you submitted to Smart Voter in the Biographical Highlights area with publicly-sourced data about your political and professional experience and your education. In addition, a publicly-sourced photo of you will be used instead of the one you may have submitted to Smart Voter. By using both public and candidate-supplied data we’ll be able to communicate more quickly and efficiently to an even larger audience than was previously possible.
Q: If I change my data by logging into my account on Smartvoter.org, when will those changes get reflected in the new Smart Voter / Voter’s Edge joint site, once that site is live?
A: Changes you make and that get approved for publication by our good volunteers, will also be sent to the Smart Voter / Voter’s Edge joint site periodically. Expect to see changes updated within 24 hours.
Q: As a returning Smart Voter participant, I plan to copy my pages from a previous election and then edit those words for my 2014 candidacy. Am I affected by this pilot project?
A: In addition to the details described above, if you submitted a photo to Smart Voter for an election prior to June 4, 2014, that photo will also be copied to VotersEdge.org. Photo sizes have changed somewhat, however, so we strongly urge you to send a new photo to email@example.com to eliminate any slight distortion.