Friday, September 30, 2011

Civic Surrey enters $5k blog contest #bcmuni2011 #surreybc

Civic Surrey is the first entrant in the $5,000 VoterMedia blog contest covering the October-November B.C. municipal election campaigns -- welcome! You can vote for them and follow links to their blog at

Anyone can enter a blog in this contest, covering elections in any of 5 cities: Surrey, Richmond, Burnaby, North Vancouver or West Vancouver -- info & entry form at No entry fee.

Civic Surrey's entry illustrates our contest rule that even election candidates can enter their blogs. Blog editor Paul Hillsdon is a candidate for Surrey School Board. See rules (end of page) for our reasons, and feel free to comment here!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

#bcmuni2011: $5,000 for bloggers covering BC municipal elections

British Columbia municipal elections will take place on November 19, 2011.

To encourage better voter information, is offering up to $5,000 in cash awards for blogs covering elections in 5 municipalities -- up to $1,000 each for 5 blog competitions covering:
The competition judges will be the public -- anyone who votes on each city's ballot linked above.

Info & entry form at No entry fee or deadline; daily awards start from October 1.

Please forward to bloggers, election candidates, current and former city councillors, and anyone interested in municipal elections.

Twitter: #bcmuni2011

(We're also happy to add blogs and ballot pages for other municipalities, without funded contests.)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

#CIRA Election: Who I plan to vote for

The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) is holding its annual board election:

Sept 13 - 20: Candidates online forum

Sept 20: Annual General Meeting & Symposium (free & open to public)

Sept 21 - 28: Online voting

As a CIRA member, I've been participating in the campaign forum. As in many large democratic organizations, member engagement and voter turnout are low. This is a problem that votermedia is designed to help solve, so I have focused my participation on the issue of voter information and engagement (here and here).

I'm planning to vote for these candidates:

Members' Slate: Kevin McArthur

Nomination Committee Slate:
Kerry Brown
Bill Gibson
Gary Evans
[2011-09-26 update: Michael Geist's post today has raised my opinion of Bill St.Arnaud. So I now plan to vote for Kerry Brown plus 2 of these 3: Bill St.Arnaud, Bill Gibson and Gary Evans.]

These may not be my final choices. Voting is Sept 21 - 28, so I have time to gather more insight which may change my mind. I don't consider myself especially well informed. I'm posting this in the hope of receiving comments etc from people more informed than I. My main role in votermedia is not blogging -- it's building a system to support and encourage blogging that benefits the community.

I have asked for candidate reviews from people whose views I respect, and so far have received these replies:

From Michael Geist, 2011-09-17:
I'll likely post an endorsement of some kind once the election launches.
[2011-09-26 update: See Michael Geist's post today.]

From Steve Anderson, Executive Director,, 2011-09-18:
I haven't studied the candidates yet - if I come up with a list I feel confident in endorsing I will let you know.

What I can say is that I will vote for and endorse Kevin [McArthur]. He's a long time advocate and active contributor on key issues like Net Neutrality, UBB, and lawful Access. You're welcome to make my endorsement of Kevin public.

If/when I hear more from them, I'll add a comment below and/or edit this post. Meanwhile, here are some reasons why I'm choosing the above candidates:

Kevin McArthur is my clearest choice. He is supported by Steve Anderson. He has been very active in the campaign forum. I like his proactive policy advocate approach to the director's role, as well as the policies he advocates. And his technical expertise seems at least stronger than my ability to assess it.

Kerry Brown has been active in the campaign forum and in his thoughtful blog. His technical knowledge and experience seem strong. I know enough about governance to say that I find his discussions of it intelligent and balanced.

Bill Gibson's track record at MEC looks strong, and very relevant to a large democratic organization with low voter engagement.

Gary Evans is a governance specialist. That alone would not get my support, since many conventional governance models are not worth the time and effort, in my view. But Gary has an eclectic scope that includes some worthwhile approaches, so I think his contribution would be valuable. I should confess a personal bias here: I found one of my publications on his course reading list, and on my suggestion he has added another one. Anyone who agrees with me I find particularly intelligent! ;-)

BTW I also have a positive impression of François Vidal, with his experience on the board of a large nonprofit (Hostelling International - Canada) and for improving CIRA's representation of Quebec.

Anyway, I hope this post will prompt some more enlightening links and comments on who we should vote for and why, from other CIRA members, board candidates, and anyone with insight and/or interest. Please comment below or by email to mark[at] You could also add a link in the comment thread at

See you at the Sept 20 AGM!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

New video: Mainstream Media vs Voter Media

Today we released a new video at Mainstream Media vs Voter Media.

In it, UBC students discuss how VoterMedia (= voter funded media = VFM) provides healthy competition to the University of British Columbia's established student newspaper, The Ubyssey.

"...does VFM work for students? I think yes. Does it increase campus discussion and student engagement? I think absolutely. Does it ensure that established media does a better job? Yeah. And are students and is this campus better off because of that? Well, absolutely." (Justin McElroy, Coordinating Editor, The Ubyssey)