City Is Testing Ground For Voter Engagement

Primary voter turnout, especially in this current season sleepy election cycle, has been minuscule in recent years. A coalition of nonprofits including the League of Women voters have launched an online Voters Guide “in an effort to engage more voters in primary elections where turnout is often under 20 percent.” The site, available now but still undergoing content load, will include City Council candidate profiles leading up to the September 12 primaries in 9 of 10 council districts. See website here.

The website when fully loaded will cover candidate information, polling locator, registration deadlines and vote regulations for electors with felony offenses. In the state of Connecticut, for instance, offenders may vote following incarceration provided they’ve satisfied all court-ordered fines and restitution. The website is available in English, Spanish, and all other languages supported by Google translate.

The project is a partnership between League of Women Voters of Connecticut, Nancy A. Humphreys Institute for Political Social Work at UConn, and Bridgeport Child Advocacy Coalition: The Center for Research & Advocacy at LifeBridge.

“This is a tremendous new effort in engaging voters in Bridgeport,” says Mary Pat Healy, Senior Director at BCAC now part of LifeBridge. “We’ve come together not only to address low voter turnout, but also to keep the importance of voting front and center all year long, not just at election time.”

The online voter guide will also showcase candidate responses to coalition questions to help Bridgeport residents make informed choices for the primary. The questions are:

1. What do you believe is the most important problem facing Bridgeport today and what, specifically, do you intend to do to address it if elected?

2. How do you plan to keep your constituents informed about your actions as a City Council member?

“The League decided to test its Voters Guide site in the state’s largest city and expects to offer the template to Leagues across the state in the future,” says Sheila Ward, Westport LWV President, chosen by the state League to coordinate this project. “We, too, believe this to be an opportunity to learn from Bridgeport first and then bring the urgency of voting to not only Bridgeport but throughout the entire state.” The site is designed and managed by League member Anne LaPeria. The Democratic primary candidates’ responses are being submitted online to a special League email address.

The League of Women Voters of Connecticut is a nonpartisan political organization that encourages informed and active participation in government. The league neither supports nor opposes any political party or candidate.


One comment

  1. Glad for such speedy posting! Attention all City Council Candidates who read OIB – we need your answers to the questions and your profile ASAP. Like in days. Sept 12 is right around the corner. Email me if you did not get the invitation.

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