A Proposition for Voters: Know Before You Go

F. Noel Perry
Founder of Next 10, an independent, nonpartisan organization that educates, engages, and empowers Californians to improve the state’s future. Next 10 funds research by leading experts on complex state issues.

A strong California depends on an informed and active electorate. But too often, voters don’t have ready access to enough information to cast an informed vote. By the time Election Day comes around, your typical voter has received dozens of mailers and viewed countless TV commercials—few of which give an unbiased view of the state ballot measures.

Deciding which way to vote can be especially tricky in a year of heavily lopsided fundraising, when one side is spending a lot more money to get its message out. Take, for example, Props 1, 2, and 47 where supporters have spent millions more than opponents.  Similarly, opponents of Props 45, 46, and 48 have outspent supporters by millions. These interest groups sometimes frustrate voters to the point that they disengage from election issues.

To meet this urgent need for information, Next 10 (www.next10.org), the nonpartisan nonprofit organization I founded, teamed up with the Institute of Governmental Studies at the University of California, Berkeley (www.igs.berkeley.edu), and created California Choices (www.cachoices.org) as a resource for Californians seeking out unbiased information before they head to their polling place. For all the statewide ballot measures, California Choices features pro and con arguments, a tally of endorsements from more than 30 organizations across the political spectrum (our most visited page), and polling data from respected pollsters. Voters can link to recent press coverage, check out in-depth background information, and view video clips from neutral news sources, as well as supporters and opponents of any ballot measure.

California Choices also gives users the ability to “Save My Vote” and review their decisions made on a smart phone or other portable device in the voting booth, as well as “Share” their vote and start discussions on social media.

During the last Mid-term and Presidential elections more than 200,000 Californians visited the site—which tells me that voters care and they want to be more engaged in our democracy.

In a few weeks, voters will be making decisions on water, criminal justice, health care, and other important issues. We invite you to drop by California Choices, learn the facts, and decide where you stand. Then go vote—and help shape our state’s future.

Businessman F. Noel Perry is the founder of Next 10, an independent, nonpartisan organization that educates, engages, and empowers Californians to improve the state’s future. Next 10 funds research by leading experts on complex state issues.

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