Water Cooler
8:41 am
Tue November 2, 2010

E-tools for Election Day; the state gets personal

Election geeks take note: we've reached a new level of high-tech politics in Washington.  Secretary of State Sam Reed is offering a palette of e-tools for your election day fun.

They include a new iPhone app created solely for getting the latest results on statewide votes. The free download will allow you to get results at the same time the candidates - and the press - receive them. 

Beyond smart phone technology, you might be surprised to learn something about yourself at the Secretary of State's site with a tool introduced a couple years back, but freshened up and streamlined. You have access to your own voting record. A simple log-in of your name and birthday reveal a list of elections in which you've cast a vote since 2005.  

Though it doesn't specify those you have missed, you can get a pretty good idea of how thorough you've been if you see the words general, primary and special election (often school bond and local levy issues) in any given year.  

This tool alone may affect one aspect of campaigns: the surprise of candidate voting records. This year Suzan DelBene, democratic challenger to Congressman Dave Reichert in the 8th District has had to defend her missed votes, a story first reported in The Stranger. 

Last year, Seattle mayoral candidate Joe Mallahan was sharply criticized for his participation record, in the Seattle Times and other reports, in what turned out to be a close race, on he eventually lost Turns out voters take this pretty seriously. Now you can see how well you would stand up to such scrutiny. Feel like running for office?

Perhaps the most handy aspect of the site is how it personalizes your voter's pamphlet - with full ballot information found in the printed guide  - and lists those who represent you. Claiming ignorance on such things will now be a lame excuse - it's all at your fingertips with a few keystrokes. 

Do you worry about having this personalized information online?  Or has the state finally gotten to a level of e-government - access for everyone - that it's long promised...at least when it comes to elections?