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The next election of any major consequence in Texas will be May 7 in San Antonio, where they’ll be voting for a new Mayor and all members of the City Council. Those of you who live in the Alamo City should take a minute and check out, which is a new site devoted to the nuts and bolts of election information there. Note well this bit from their FAQ:

Why hasn’t the City of San Antonio made this information available in a more user friendly way on its own website thus eliminating the need for a site like

This is perhaps the most pertinent question of all. Of course the answer is, “with what the City currently spends on MIS services, if they wanted to they could and indeed they should.” Virtually all the information on this site was researched, collated, organized into a usable format and turned into a website through the efforts of one person in less than three weeks time. This is neither intellectually nor economically rocket science. By way of a couple of constructive suggestions to the City, the forms for these Campaign Finance Reports could be made available and filled out online. Technology could be employed to ensure that all blanks on the forms are filled out completely before it would accept the filings. This would also eliminate the problem of handwritten forms. What is more, this would make it easier for those who were inclined to import this information into a database that could be easily queried to help trace the connections between particular contributors and specific campaigns, or determine when multiple donations have been made from a given household at one address.

It’s not just the city of San Antonio that could do a better job of presenting this kind of information – the data on the Bexar County Elections Department‘s page are done in a way to make them nearly useless. The Harris County Clerk does a much better job, and it’s still not that great.

Anyway. You San Antonians have until April 6 to register for this election, so check out and prepare to do your civic duty.

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  1. This was exactly what I was thinking about in terms of the city and it getting out this information to the public. According to the elections office, the candidates were too particular in what they wanted presented so thus the elections office does nothing except post financial info and candidates contact info.
    Also as per your suggestions, what is needed is some sound leadership in city govt to get things streamlined and effective. Otherwise you can expect only 10-15% voter turnouts for city elections or worse.

  2. Lori Bravo says:

    As far as the candidates being way too particular in what they wanted presented — I sent out letters via the USPO for the first two weeks the candidates could register themselves… I explained what I was doing, and what I wanted from them — approx 250 words and a photo. Guess what? Over 70% enthusiastically responded via email — with very little particulars (I mean, they wanted me to spell their name correctly and stuff, but really, they were happy to have their platforms presented SOMEWHERE). Late filers quickly followed suite and provided information — word gets around. My site has info on all the candidates now (I will admit, there are two or three that didn’t provide anything, but look at the candidates we’re working with). I’m just one suburban housewife working on a notebook computer — and you can see the results… Just think what a properly motivated municiple entity could accomplish!