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Shout out to November6th.org! This website provided sample ballots and information based on your location for the past election. November6th.org is brought to you by the The League of Young Voters Education FundNew Era Civic FundForward Montana Foundation, and the Bus Foundation. Check it out for yourself and sign up for updates for the next election. Can’t wait to see what these organizations come up with next!

Social Media on Politics & Social Media

Mashable is a news and media company reporting on all things relevant to the world wide web by utilizing the social media tools it covers. In an article one month before the November 6th election, Josh Catone revisits the online organizing tactics of the 2008 Obama campaign that beg the question, What effect is social media having on the election of 2012?

"Yet for all the talk of social media’s potential power as a political tool, for all the millions of followers and thousands of status updates, the Pew Research Center finds that the candidates aren’t actually very social. "Neither campaign made much use of the social aspect of social media," reported Pew in August. It seems that the campaigns are using social media as just another broadcast channel – blasting out partisan messages, and only taking very few opportunities to actually engage with fans, followers and voters. So if social media ends up being another one-way advertising medium, like print, radio or television, is it really a game changer?” 

As #NYC2013 candidates launch their websites and platforms, participateRespond to the issues and messages they present! Ask about the policies and promises that mean something to you! Speak for your communities, neighborhood and yourself! Put the social in social media and be a part of the democracy that makes this country great! 

How are you transforming social media from a one-way street like TV or radio into a high-speed network that brings communities, representatives and advocates together?

According to WNYC, a radio blog, the Census Bureau shows that 49% of New York City residents speak languages from all over the globe. A quarter of residents speak Spanish or Spanish Creole and Chinese, Russian, Indic Languages and French Creole come next. 

“Just 51% of New Yorkers speak only English at home…”

The Board of Elections and Voter Assistance Advisory Committee should take note…How does this factor into the #NYC2013 election?

Who were the young community organizers who helped get out the vote? Young People For civic engagement fellows, featured by the People for the American Way blog. YP4 mobilized 22,000 voters and got 10,000 pledges through the YP4 network.

Are you interested in civic engagement or a particular issue? Do you want to belong to a community of like-minded, bipartisan people who care less about politics and more about improving their towns and cities? Apply to be a fellow with Young People For.

Community members of the YP4 fellowship, Front Line Leaders Academy and Young Elected Officials network gain resources and networks to lead and serve the people and causes they care about. As an alumna of the program, I feel honored to represent this organization and its staff. 

Blogger Rachel Ferrari is a 2011 Young People For fellow partnering with the organization as an alumna. YP4 provides training and support for young community organizers and advocates. YP4 is a program of the People for the American Way Foundation and partners closely with the Generational Alliance.

“It’s a crowded field, but that’s democracy.”

In an article by the Columbia Daily Spectator, the candidates vying to represent parts of Washington Heights, Hamilton Heights, and all of Morningside Heights as City Councilmembers weigh in on their support and how well they can represent the area. 

Democratic District Leader of Washington Heights, Mark Levine, will run for the current City Councilmember, Robert Jackson’s seat. He says, 

“It’s a crowded field, but that’s democracy. Open seats in New York City politics don’t come along too often, and when an opportunity comes up, a lot of people want to run, and that’s fine.”

As the candidates for this council district step forward, follow their view of the people and issues with myNextStepCitizen, representing in Morningside Heights. Submit what you learn about your neighborhoods’ representatives and candidates and we’ll feature you!

The race has begun!

On November 28, 2012, the New York Times reported that “Open contests are expected for all three citywide offices (mayor, comptroller, public advocate), four of the five borough presidencies (Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island), and at least 19 of the 51 seats on the City Council.”

Find out who your representatives are now and whether or not they want your vote next year. New York City, who will you choose to represent you in 2013?

This is what we're all about

An article on CivicSource, a web portal for civic engagement, tells us that we need to take the engagement in civic engagement seriously. 

Katie James, UIC Institute for Policy and Civic Engagement staff member posted last week about a framework that was developed to understand how citizens can be more responsive and reactive, and how democracy should be more interactive. Read the full report by University of Illinois at Chicago's Anthony Simon Laden, Ph.D. of the Department of Philosophy here.

“A democratic society is more than a state with a popularly elected (i.e. democratic) government.  It is also, crucially,society whose members relate to one another and to their government as citizens.  Citizens see one another as free and equal, and collectively constituting the authority to govern themselves.”

Programs that hope to enable citizens and their representatives to communicate openly about the issues and policies need to ensure they are hosting rather than conducting communication. Laden offers some qualifying questions to determine a program’s framework for true civic engagement:

1) Who designed the program and who has a voice in its development going forward?

2) Who is trusted with the tasks or components of administration or maintenance? 

3) What knowledge do each involved parties or groups bring? 

4) Who is the “we” the program is addressing or advocating for?  

5) What is the mechanism by which rejection and criticism is heard and taken up? 

6) What are the models or standards of excellence for the activities being undertaken? 

7) What is the result and how will it continue?

At Next Step Citizen, we are providing examples of how to utilize the tools and resources from the internet and social media. YOU are the voice that will develop our progress. YOU decide how we maintain our site and YOU administer your own posts and submissions. YOU tell us what knowledge you have and share the knowledge you’ve encountered. WE are NYC voters and residents that want to be more engaged in our local city politics. YOU are in control of your own web presence and YOUR perspective on the issues and articles we present will appear on our pages. YOUR input and insight will determine how we are meeting our standards and goals. YOUR voice, vision and vote determine the result of the NYC2013 election. How are YOU transforming social media for local politics in NYC?

New York City's Mayoral Election is less than a year away

In early October, Mayor Bloomberg made his point of view on the upcoming election clear enough for the title of the New York Times article to read, “2013 Race? Mayor says don’t ask about it.

Bloomberg’s name brands large media and news companies producing digital and print information, “With 2,300 media professionals in 146 bureaus across 72 countries…” (Bloomberg Media). His interaction with publicity reflects his understanding of the business, and he makes clear the value he places on public servants fulfilling their duties.

In an effort to focus on the last year of his third term in office, he responds to laughter from the press about his moratorium on candidate criticism, “You may think it’s funny, but I don’t happen to think it’s funny,” he said scoldingly. “I think this city has got too many things to do and there are too many people who need help in this city for us to play silly games.” There are issues that the people in this city have to worry about that will not be solved by one person, but need to be addressed by everyone. Knowing what affects you now is critical to understanding who you feel best represents you.

The last election season has come to a close and city politics have become the media story and the next big decision for New Yorkers. As I search for the candidates’ issues and backgrounds in city government and policies, I find that news articles and commentary on different candidates as well as our current mayor have a common thread. Politics and the press corps are inevitably linked, becoming a mediator between the government’s message and the people’s. In this age, we have the power to speak for ourselves. If candidates have to focus on the issues to succede Bloomberg and work for the people, New Yorkers can find new ways to tell them what we think. How can we work together to help the politicians listen to us?

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Take the 2012 NYC Votes survey about your voting experience, poll site, absentee voting, impact from Sandy or whatever you think at http://ow.ly/fAzD7. This voter assiztance campaign of the NYC Campaign Finance Board, promoting “voter registration, voting and civic engagement in New York City through community outreach and partnerships with public and private organizations.” They want to know how they can improve what they currently do and what ideas you have for the next vote!

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Arrive with Five is Young People For’s exciting way to make voting this Tuesday, November 6th a party! Get five people to commit to go to the polls, either with you or all over the country. Your vote is your voice, so make this election loud!

NYC voter registration forms must be postmarked by this Friday!

To register to vote in the City of New York, you must:

  1. Be a citizen of the United States (Includes those persons born in Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands).
  2. Be a New York City resident for at least 30 days.
  3. Be 18 years of age before the next election.
  4. Not be serving a jail sentence or be on parole for a felony conviction.
  5. Not be adjudged mentally incompetent by a court.
  6. Not claim the right to vote elsewhere (outside the City of New York).

Although you can register any time during the year, your form must be delivered or mailed at least 25 days before the next election for it to be effective for that election.

If you have a valid ID from the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, you can register to vote online.

Register to vote in person at one of our offices.

Register by mail with a Voter Registration Form from the New York City Board of Elections. Download the Voter Registration Application in English, Chinese, Spanish, Korean and Bengali. You may also obtain Registration Forms from libraries, Post Offices, and most New York City Government agencies.

Fill out a Voter Registration Application using only a pen with blue or black ink. Be sure to sign the form. Mail (DO NOT FAX) the Voter Registration Form to Board of Elections in the City of New York, 32 Broadway, 7 Flr. New York, NY 10004.