Washoe to publish candidate statements on Web
June 14, 2002
Washoe County voter registrars will be the first in Nevada to post candidate photos and statements on the Web.
Registrar of Voters Dan Burk plans to post information and photos submitted by candidates on the Washoe County Web site.
The deadline to submit statements and photos to the office was Monday, according to Luanne Cutler, an administrative secretary with the Registrar’s Office who is organizing the effort for Washoe County.
Cutler is scanning photos and editing candidate statements in order to meet today’s deadline to post the material.
“This has turned into a bigger animal then I originally realized,” she said.
Cutler said the registrar is putting material on the Web to help answer voters’ questions about candidates.
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“In some states they do this on the sample ballots, but we don’t have legal authority to do that here,” she said. “But we thought it would be a good service to at least provide voters with some very basic information about the candidates.”
Candidates may download a form from the Internet asking them to briefly describe their occupation, employment history, educational background, prior government service and reason for seeking office.
Cutler said she has spent much of her time scanning photos so they can be used on the Web in digital format.
“This is a first-shot kind of experiment,” she said. “I think next year I’m going to insist on digital photos.”
Candidates answers are limited to from 25 words for occupation-related answers to 150 words to explain why they want the office.
“Hopefully, it will help the voter a little bit,” she said. “We get calls all the time from people on how to find out about the candidates and don’t have anything to tell them besides to watch television news and read the newspaper.”
Registrars for Carson City and Douglas County have heard about the Washoe County effort.
Carson City Clerk-Recorder Alan Glover said there are several reasons he is not ready to follow Washoe’s lead, not the least of which is a shortage of hands to do the work.
“We talked about it, but we don’t have the manpower and there are no regulations on how to do it,” he said. “Our Web site is a work in progress and we are trying to get it completed before we take on anything else.”
Glover said he believes posting candidate information on the Web is a good idea and it bears watching.
“A lot of candidates cannot raise money, so how do they get their information out?” he asked “This area needs to be visited every year as more and more people get used to using the Web.”
Douglas County Clerk-Treasurer Barbara Reed said she was surprised Washoe County was posting candidate items.
“I was really surprised when I heard Dan was doing that,” she said. “We talked about it here, and thought it was a nice service, knowing we did not have the staff.”
Reed said she plans on contacting the political parties in the hopes she can include a link to their Web pages.
“One thing I’m going to do is contact the political parties and ask them if they would put up candidates, then we could link to their sites, both major and minor,” she said.
Reed said she will be interested in seeing how it works for Washoe County.
“It is a great way to provide information, but we don’t have the luxury of having an employee who can do it,” she said.
Reed said she has several questions about how the Web site will work and what the interaction with candidates will be.
“Where do you stop?” Reed asked. “Because of the towns and the general improvement districts, we have so many candidates. How do you screen it? If you are going to open it up, do you have to open it up to everybody?”
Information about who has filed appears on Web sites in most Nevada counties and the secretary of state’s Web site.
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Then click Candidate info.
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