The immediate daylighting and reform of the status quo candidate questionnaire system is in order.
Behind the scenes, candidates have to answer dozens and dozens of questionnaires from special interest groups and media, but voters don’t get to see most of the questionnaires and the tedious and redundant process takes candidates away from voters. The campaign staff wind up winging it toward the end which is really too bad because I’m pretty certain voters want answers directly from candidates, not staffers.
Who knew, right?
I’m calling for a publicly-selected, universal set of questions for candidates because – as I like to say – this is not my first rodeo, and anyone who has run for office in Seattle knows there are just too many questionnaires and they’re too private.
I’m also calling for word limits on the responses from the candidates for obvious reasons, LOL.
A predictable and logical schedule for posting questions and answers makes sense. Candidates will be encouraged to gain content competency in the subject areas if they don’t already have it. As a candidate has a chance to study up, hear from more voters and sharpen their positions, they could edit their responses to keep them fresh. More importantly, if we want more policy and less politics from our electeds, then they need to do their homework, not claim they’re just politicians leaving the important policy development work to others.
I’m calling for a questionnaire editing deadline that coincides with the Voter’s Guide deadline and intermediate deadlines for responses, so candidates are encouraged to make their draft positions public earlier. This will help voters to differentiate candidates.
It would be golden if registered voters could make public comments as constituents under the candidate responses by logging in with their voter card ID and using their real names. Wow, that alone would be amazing.
I also think there needs to be other reforms to candidate communications protocols, to shine more light and throttle back on behind the scenes dealing. The voters should know who is talking to who and what they’re talking about. If the voters told me they wanted me to wear a body camera down at city hall, I would because we’re all pretty mad out here in voter land about how opaque things are down at City Hall. A new City Council could decide to be much more transparent. It would be a refreshing change.
In that spirit, I’d like to audio record (with permission, of course) if it’s a phone interview or livestream if it’s a face to face interview so the voters can follow along. I challenge my opponent in the District 6 race and the others to do the same.
Looking further in the future, the logical office to help develop the rules and manage access to the information is Seattle Ethics and Elections. I think it’s a do-able step we can take toward transparency and open government.
Please suggest the important questions you would like to see on the questionnaire in the comments.