Wednesday, December 16, 2009 allows candidates to post their messages... for a fee

I'd seen references to in various places as I've browsed about the web; tonight I set out to figure out what it was all about.

Here's the deal: It provides a list of candidates. Right now, if you click over and check, you'll find a list of all candidates in all primaries. But a voter can narrow the search by providing with his or her home address; the site will supposedly provide a list then of only those races that will be on that voter's ballot.

But the site isn't just for voters... it's also for candidates... and for organizations that wish to make endorsements... for a price. The site's Help and FAQ page explains:

What is

eVoter is an unbiased, non-partisan, website where people can enter their address and to see their ballot in the next election. Voters use eVoter because they want to learn about Candidates and make informed choices.

What kinds of things can voters do on

They can not only see which Candidates are running for which offices, they can also see which Organizations have endorsed which Candidates. Voters can filter their ballot by endorsements, make their selections and then print out their ballot to take to the polls on Election Day. Voters can also print out absentee ballot request forms and use eVoter to help make decisions when voting at home.

Most importantly, Voters can interact with Candidates by supporting them, sharing Candidate Profiles and contributing.

How does eVoter decide which Candidates appear on the site?

All Candidates for office will be listed on eVoter after the date that the ballot is officially published by the relevant election authority. But only Candidates who create an eVoter Candidate Profile will have an interactive listing. Prior to this date, only Candidates who create an eVoter Candidate Profile will appear on our Sample Ballot.

Therefore, we do not decide which Candidates appear on eVoter.

As a Candidate, what can I do with my Profile?

On your Profile you will be able to post pictures, your statements and information, your endorsements, and links to your website, Facebook profile, YouTube videos, and press articles. Voters will be able to contact you to support your campaign and you will be able to contact them back. You can even receive donations through your eVoter profile.

What’s the cost to a Candidate to have a Profile on

The cost of an eVoter Profile is on a sliding scale based on the size of the office you are running for. Click here to see our Price List ( and Terms and Conditions At any level, the cost of an eVoter Profile is a tiny fraction of the cost of normal political advertising in any other medium. Most importantly, you will be reaching Voters who are visiting eVoter because they are looking to make an informed decision.

What’s the cost to a Voter to use eVoter?

Voters can use all of eVoter’s functionality for free. Voters never pay for any of our services, including: Generating a personalized Sample Ballot, viewing Candidate Profiles, sending support messages to Candidates and seeing Organizational endorsements.

What’s required for a Candidate to create a profile?

During the registration process, we need to ask you a few questions to make sure that your Profile appears in the correct place when voters search for their Sample Ballot. These questions include:
  • The level of Office you are running for
  • Your name and address
  • The exact name and address of your registered Campaign Committee
  • The ID Number of your Campaign Committee
  • The name of the Treasurer of your Campaign Committee
  • The name of your contact person (if not you)
  • A primary e-mail address
Can a Voter make contributions to a Candidate using eVoter?

Yes, people can make contributions to a Candidate’s campaign using through a Candidate’s Profile page, using our affiliated payment processor. We also provide the Candidate with detailed reports of contributions, including the information necessary to assist in complying with State and Federal election laws and regulations.

According to the price list, judicial candidates can create their own profile for $100. Profiles in other races cost as much or more.

As of tonight, I could find only one Cook County judicial candidate, Russell William Hartigan, a candidate for the countywide Riley vacancy, that's created an profile. I would guess there'll be more.

It's interesting that the eVoter site allows a candidate to receive campaign contributions.

This blog can't compete with that -- but I will post Cook County judicial candidates' statements 'in their own words' for free (that's exactly $100 less than the amount charged by (Candidates: I only have one statement from a candidate for this primary so far, but you can visit the Archives to see exemplars from candidates in the 2008 primary. Send your completed statement to me via email using the link on this page.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interesting post, Jack! I really like eVoter. (It looks like the ultimate hybrid of Facebook and ACTBlue)!

I work on campaigns and I could see it helping by providing so many services for our goals in one spot - with the bonus of really nice design.

Paying a fee for an enhanced profile makes sense to me. (With any site like this, whether it's hosted by a political party or an organization, it takes money to run).

eVoter was pretty smart to consolidate all the online services a campaign will need into one profile.

(Aside from the campaign advantage, as a voter, I dig the fact that it's non partisan and free for me).

I just hope it doesn't put staffers like me out of work! It makes my work so much easier. Some may joke that we are underpaid/overworked, but a small fee like this is a steal.

At the same time, when you think about it, eVoter may actually put some competition back into our campaigns: candidates without large funding for a designer, a fancy website, or a communications team can take full advantage of eVoter profiles.

(And of course, Kudos to you for sharing statements too, Jack. Thanks)!