So maybe a couple of hundred were mine as I refreshed to see how many we had, but even so, our idea for a Candidate Community Pipeline gained a lot of notice and feedback. Even with that exposure, the judges for the initial phase of this year’s Knight News Challenge, which focused on the idea of better informing voters and improving civic participation, selected a set of 45 entries (out of more than 1000) that excluded ours (see what I did there – I refused to use a negative word?).
There are some good ideas in there, of course, including ones related to Judge4yourself style sites for judicial elections. We look forward to seeing which ones are announced in late June as funded winners. We know that Ohioans can use all the information and improvement in participation we can get. As someone who continues to believe in voters and elections, I’m grateful for the Knight attention to these issues and the support of other organizations like the Democracy Fund. Ultimately we are all building toward the same goals.
As for the Candidate Community Pipeline, we still believe that citizen participation in identifying people well-suited to elected public office is valuable and needed. So many people involved in politics and government are people who were inspired by or asked by others. There’s nothing wrong with coming up through affiliation with a political party or a segment connected to a special interest. But we also have many local leaders who aren’t in politics who would make great leaders in local government. A community pipeline could go a long way toward getting more people thinking about their public servants, local issues and participating.