In addition to the convenience and transparency I saw in the Denver elections from their use of Ballot TRACE, I also noticed local authorities put forth a tremendous amount of effort to make sure citizens are educated about the voting process, and making sure this education translated into voter turnout.
Using Social Media to Make Results Accessible
Denver Elections was really good as using social media platforms, especially Facebook, to make their information accessible and meeting the voter where they are. They used social media to share election information, encourage turnout, answer last-minute questions, and generally make the Denver Elections Division seem like a useful, approachable entity.
One of the most interesting ways they engaged with social media was by posting Facebook live videos of ballots being sorted and counted. In a time when many voters are encouraged to be suspicious of elections, I thought this was a great way to show some transparency, and also show the hard work that goes into making elections run smoothly. I thought this was a nice touch and made a great human connection to the election process. It reminded me that our elections are truly of the people, run by the people, and for the people.
Learning from Best Practices Nationwide
Denver Elections credited some of their successful social media outreach to the experiences they gained at the Government Social Media (GSM) Conference. The conference emphasizes the importance of making social media interactions with constituents important, but also lighthearted. This approach has been very successful in Denver. Residents see Denver Elections’s online presence as a source of valuable information, but also significantly more approachable than many other online government resources.
At the core of all of this success is a commitment to accuracy. While Denver Elections works hard to make their public engagement fun and approachable, they are built around a system that is not only accurate, but transparent. Denver residents know that Denver Elections will work hard, work well, and make the results available to all in a way that is fun and easy to access.
Thanks again to the incredible Denver Elections team for letting us observe your process. Using many of Denver’s solutions as an example, I look forward to continuing to make Nebraska elections more accessible and transparent.