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Speak up for good government.

The second of my good government principles is Accurate and Unbiased Voter Info.


Free and fair elections, which I highlighted in last month's newsletter, are the foundation of our democracy. Ensuring all voters have access to the information they need on issues and candidates builds upon that foundation.



Much of the information we are inundated with is misleading and/or requires context and a critical eye. For that reason, a critical aspect of my accurate and unbiased information principle is ensuring every voter has the resources necessary to spot misinformation and disinformation.


With a bit of effort, we can find the information on candidates and issues we need to guide our voting decisions. However, most people don't have the time or the desire to expend the effort required to get that information.



The challenge of wading through the information we are bombarded with and the challenge of finding the data we need can be frustrating and causes many people to tune out and/or too readily accept and amplify information that sounds good or confirms personal biases.


Fortunately, some states and counties provide voter guides that provide balanced information on candidates and issues on the ballot. Here's an outstanding voter guide that was produced for the 2020 election by the League of Women Voters of Central New Mexico.


Voter guides should be standard practice in all states and counties, and should be an expectation of all voters.


The advent of Artificial Intelligence (AI) provides both risks and benefits. We've all heard about the increasing risks of AI generated deep fakes, etc. But AI also provides the prospect of easier access to critical information on candidates and issues through improved search engines and/or AI guided searches. I will be paying close attention to this issue, and share, as applicable in the coming months.


This month's posts:

Have a great month!

Congress is responsible for funding appropriations and for passing legislation designed to address the critical problems vexing our society. Solutions to these critical problems aren't easy, but funding appropriations and passing legislation should be the easy part. Unfortunately, Congress is frequently unable to do the "easy part," failing to conduct basic business like passing a budget and keeping the government open.



In last month's newsletter, I shared my vision and my expectations of Congress. In support of that vision, I developed eight good government principles that provide a foundation for Congress to meet those expectations. Over the course of this year, I will review each principle, and articulate why each principle is critical to the effectiveness of our Legislative branch.


The first of my good government principles is free and fair elections for all. Given that we are in the midst of an election year, this principle is particularly salient. In his 1960 State of the Union speech, President Eisenhower said, "In the long perspective of history, the right to vote has been one of the strongest pillars of a free society. Our first duty is to protect this right against all encroachment."


Voter trust of Congress is at all time low, with many voters feeling that their legislators aren't working for them.



Having a Congress that truly represents us and meets our expectations starts with representative districts, secure elections, and easy access to the ballot box.


My work with the Center for Electoral Quality and Integrity is designed to support the work of election officials and increase voter confidence by providing an objective framework for evaluating election operations. We are spending much of this year soliciting input from election officials and election experts on whether the Operations System map that we developed with the support of a small group of election officials and election experts, accurately reflects the key activities necessary for free and fair elections.


I encourage you to share the Operations System map with local election officials and get back to me with their feedback and recommendations.


There are a number of other outstanding organizations doing great work to support and safeguard our elections. You can find links to several of them in the resources section of my Elections principle.


Social media posts this month:


Have a great month!

Welcome to the January 2024 Speak Up for Good Government newsletter.


During this election year, wading through misinformation, engaging in constructive conversation, and protecting our election will be critical.



The mission and vision of Speak Up for Good Government and my eight good government principles continue to guide my expectations for our government and for Congress.


My vision continues to be a government "of the people, by the people, and for the people". We elect politicians to represent us, but all too often they focus their efforts on their party, their donors, and the next election. I don't think it's unreasonable to expect Congress to serve its constituents by working in good faith to consistently produce legislation designed to address the critical problems in our country.


Unfortunately, we remain very far from realizing that vision. Nonetheless, I remain committed to identifying and supporting organizations whose work supports the good government principles that underpin my vision.



My intention for this year is to devote each newsletter to one of my good government principles. I will attempt to articulate the importance of each principle and provide insight into how each principle supports my vision and mission.


January social media posts:

  • I shared Issue One’s newest report, "Dangerous by Design," which details the dangers of social media, and offers possible interventions that could reduce that danger and maximize the positive impact of social media. Although I recommend reading the entire report, here's a link to a summary I've posted on my website.

  • I shared information about News Literacy Week. This annual initiative highlights the vital role of news literacy in our democracy, providing people of all ages with the knowledge and tools to become better informed and more civically engaged.

  • I shared information about Citizen Connect. Citizen Connect is dedicated to healing our political divides and strengthening our democracy. Citizen Connect's current focus areas are:

    • The 2024 election, starting with a simple nonpartisan, action-oriented page to increase voter participation.

    • Creating a single, simple page focused on "Political Non-Violence" to highlight ways citizens can help make 2024 a peaceful election cycle, before, during and after.


As always, I welcome your engagement and feedback.


Please share this newsletter with others, and like us on Facebook and follow me on LinkedIn and X!

 

Have a great month.


 


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