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Bilingual “California Report Card” Launches on National Voter Registration Day

Data & Democracy

Building tools to foster public engagement for the people of California and around the world.
Screenshot-CRCintro California Report Card

Bilingual “California Report Card” Launches on National Voter Registration Day

Berkeley, CA (September 23, 2014) — On National Voter Registration Day, a new version of the California Report Card (http://californiareportcard.org/ ) is being launched to engage the 30% of Californians who speak Spanish at home. All of the content in this new civic engagement tool is now available in both English and Spanish, with rapid bilingual translation of textual input and a streamlined mobile interface.

As described in the San Francisco Chronicle Op-Ed, “Let’s Amplify California’s Collective Intelligence” by Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom and UC Berkeley Professor Ken Goldberg ( http://j.mp/Op-Ed-Cal-Rpt-Card ), Californians are using this new mobile technology to advise state leaders on timely issues. Since v1.0 launched in early February 2014, over 10,000 people from all 58 counties in the state of California have assigned more than 30,000 grades to the State of California and suggested issues to include in the next report card. This direct citizen feedback is being closely watched by Lt. Governor Newsom, who developed the platform in collaboration with the CITRIS Data and Democracy Initiative at UC Berkeley. The project explores how technology can engage the public by streamlining and structuring communication with elected officials.

“The California Report Card is a new way for elected officials, including myself, to keep our ear to the ground,” said Lt. Governor Newsom. “It makes it easy for Californians to assign grades and suggest pressing issues that merit our attention. So far, participants have conveyed that they approve of the Affordable Care Act rollout, but are very concerned about the future of California schools and universities. The platform has revealed statewide support for more attention to disaster preparedness, which has become one of my top priorities. Version 2.0 of the California Report Card is designed to broaden access and engage California’s Spanish-speaking population. My office looks forward to receiving this important feedback.”

“The California Report Card is a tool that serves as an opportunity for the Latino community to voice their concerns to elected leaders about the current and future direction of our state. Increasing civic engagement and expanding voter registration within the Latino community is extremely important, and I believe the California Report Card provides our community an opportunity for achieving both of these goals.” – Arnulfo De La Cruz, CA Director, Mi Familia Vota.

The California Report Card encourages direct input from a broad range of participants. The platform combines peer-to-peer review with statistical models that identify issues with the highest perceived importance. As a result, the discussion is open but is not dominated by extreme viewpoints. The Spanish translation feature in Version 2.0 will be launched in collaboration with the Blum Center at UC Merced. Version 2.0 provides links to online voter registration and election resources.

“This platform allows us to have our voices heard. The ability to review and grade what others suggest is important. It enables us and elected officials to hear directly how Californians feel.” – Matt Harris, Ione, CA, California Report Card Participant

“Report cards motivate learning by providing feedback on strengths and weaknesses. Similarly, the California Report Card is motivating Californians and leaders to learn from each other about timely issues. The patterns of participation and how they vary over time and across languages and geography will help us design future platforms.” – Professor Ken Goldberg, UC Berkeley

It takes just two minutes to participate and works on all screens. Just click “Participate”:

http://californiareportcard.org/

The website above includes details on the issues being graded, statistical significance, related projects, FAQ, contact info and data to date.

More information:

About CITRIS and the CITRIS Data and Democracy Initiative

The Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) creates information technology solutions for many of our most pressing social, environmental, and health care problems. The CITRIS Data and Democracy Initiative (DDI) develops tools to support the evolving, dynamic relationships between digital media and democratic practices, including novel mobile, Internet and social media applications to enhance online deliberation, participatory decision-making, and rapid mobilization. DDI seeks to enhance individual and collective awareness, understanding, and engagement for people of diverse backgrounds on critical social, political, and economic issues. This multidisciplinary, multi-campus initiative supports civic engagement through technology-enabled solutions in California, the nation, and globally.

Media Contacts:

Prof. Ken Goldberg for the California Report Card and the CITRIS Data and Democracy Initiative: goldberg@berkeley.edu or 415-722-5649

UC Merced, Blum Center: Executive Director Steve Roussos, sroussos@ucmerced.edu, 209-489-9913

Julie Sammons for the Center for Information Technology in the Interest of Society (CITRIS): juliesammons@citris-uc.org