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[liberationtech] TransparentDemocracy Launches: Ballot Measure Voter Turnout Project; Forward this message

Terry Winograd winograd at
Fri Oct 17 11:37:22 PDT 2008

I've been consulting for a while with Kim Cranston who has developed
the TransparentDemocracy site, and urge you all to take a look and
help him improve it.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Kim Cranston <kimcc at>
Date: Wed, Oct 15, 2008 at 8:33 PM
Subject: TransparentDemocracy Launches: Ballot Measure Voter Turnout
Project; Forward this message
To: Terry Winograd <winograd at>

Hi Terry,

I'm writing to let you know that we have launched the public beta
version of TransparentDemocracy, and to thank you for all you've done
to support our efforts – I deeply appreciate it.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the site and want to
encourage you to forward this email to anyone who you think might find
TransparentDemocracy of interest, especially for educating voters
about statewide contests this November or shareholders in corporate
proxy contests in 2009.

The Ballot Measure Voter Turnout project is the first application of a
platform built to increase trust, communication, accountability, and
responsiveness in our democratic institutions that are having a
difficult time addressing the major challenges we face (a second
application - the Corporate Shareholder Proxy Ballot Guide - is
discussed below).

Millions of first time and other voters who will vote for our next
president this November 4 will not vote on ballot measures and in
other important contests if they are unsure about how to vote (in the
general election in California in 2004, over 1 Million - nearly 10% -
fewer votes were cast for ballot measures than in the presidential
contest). This election, there are 153 ballot measures on 35 statewide
ballots, with voters deciding measures concerning the economy, the
environment, alternative energy, constitutional and civil rights,
reproductive rights, prison reform, and other important issues.

TransparentDemocracy's Ballot Measure Voter Turnout Project will
increase informed voting and turnout on ballot measures and other
contests by letting voters who are unsure about how to vote see how
people and organizations they trust recommend they vote.

To best understand how TransparentDemocracy works:
1. Go to:
2. Find the California Ballot.
3. Scroll down to a Ballot Measure, e.g., Proposition 8.
4. Check the boxes next to the people or organizations you trust (or
want to see the recommendations of) in the "Select Your Sources" tool
to the left of the ballot.
5. For one of the Propositions, e.g., Proposition 8, select "Show all
# Sources For This Contest" (just below "Contest Details").
6. Scroll over one of the listed Sources to see if it published a
statement supporting its position.
7. Explore "Contest Details".
8. Mark and print your ballot.

This is a beta release, a work in progress - like all of our
democratic institutions - so you'll probably find a few bugs (please
use the alert system to let us know what you find).

Here is a bit more information about TransparentDemocracy:

Our "sample" ballot-centric, open "Source" system allows any
organization or individual to publish their recommendations and
supporting information, which voters can then (1) filter a variety of
ways and rate, and (2) use to make their own recommendations to share
with friends. Sources can also display their recommendations on their
own websites or anywhere on the web.

We are currently "reporting" the positions of some sources on ballot
measures in order to "seed" the Source system; we have already done
this for California and several other states, and are quickly doing
this with the remaining states with ballot measures.

The second application of the platform - the Corporate Shareholder
Proxy Ballot Guide - will cover all proxies with contested shareholder
resolutions in 2009 (we've already published 40 proxy ballots that
include 98 shareholder proposals from the 2008 proxy season, which
we've relabeled as "preliminary" proxy ballots for 2009 as many of
them will be voted on again next year).

To get a sense of how the Proxy Guide works:
1.  Find the proxy for Exxon Mobil.
2.  Scroll down to one of the Shareholder Proposals, e.g., "Proposal
17 Climate Change and Technology Report".
3.  For the selected Proposal, e.g., "Proposal 17", Select "Show all 2
Sources This Contest".
4.  Scroll over one of the listed Sources.

The Corporate Shareholder Proxy Ballot Guide will provide significant value by:
1. Allowing proponents of shareholder resolutions to publish anything
they wish for shareholder consideration.
2. Allowing organizations and individuals who are not the proponents
of a shareholder resolution to (a) publish their recommendations (and
supporting information) in TransparentDemocracy and (b) display their
recommendation on their own website.
3. Making it much easier for shareholders to find recommendations from
organizations and individuals they trust so they can better voter
their values.

Please let me know of any ideas you have about this, and please
forward this email to anyone who you think might provide support to
TransparentDemocracy or use it to educate voters about statewide
contests this November or shareholders in corporate proxy contests in

Thank you again for all of your support, and for all of your good deeds.

Kim Cranston
C.E.O & Co-Founder
800 San Antonio Ave., Palo Alto, CA 94303
650-948-6516 (Fax)

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