Category Archives: Government

Smart Voter Mobile Website

With the US Elections coming in a couple weeks, I’ve started to take a closer look at mobile options for learning about the candidates and issues, and for watching the results.

First up, the League of Women Voters site: Smart Voter, tagline: Unbiased Election Information. This site looks very complete, including lots of pre-election information:

  • Your ballot – based on your address and/or zip code
  • Your polling location
  • National, state, and local races
  • State and local measures, including objective descriptions and arguments for and against

I can’t tell yet whether they will also post election results.

Smart Voter Mobile Site

Smart Voter Mobile Site –

Cash for Clunkers Market Distribution

Here’s a quick comparison of the market share for US auto sales compared with participation in the Car Allowance Rebate System (aka “Cash for Clunkers”).

The distribution of rebates among top manufacturers tracks pretty closely to their recent market share. But, if you look closely, you’ll see that GM, Ford, and Chrysler are all slightly below expectations, while all the imports (except VW) are above.

Conclusion: import manufacturers got a larger share of the incentive program than their general market share would anticipate.

Chart comparing market share numbers with CARS data

Data sources:

Obama Executive Orders RSS Feed

With President Obama’s inauguration came a new website for the White House, generating lots of buzz around the internet. Obama supporters have high hopes for his leadership, and for web geeks in particular, high hopes for his web site.

For myself, I found the executive orders section interesting and something worth keeping an eye on over time. Unfortunately, that portion of the site doesn’t have its own RSS feed. With a quick site scraper assembled with Yahoo! PIpes, I created a feed that pulls in the full content of each executive order and presidential memo:

Subscribe to feed for Presidential Executive Orders

California Voting Guides for 2008

Smithsonian Voting Machine Picture

With election time almost upon us, I wanted to do a quick survey of useful voting guides, with a focus on California’s collection of propositions. The California Official Voter Information Guide comes in at a smooth 143 pages, too much for most people to read, so guides like these become essential.

Neutral or non-partisan

  • Ballotpedia has a detail proposition list that includes the cost of signatures; also check out their summary of 2008 ballot measures nationwide which has some detailed summaries, including the revelation that California has the most measures on the ballot of any state this election
  • Project Vote Smart has a list of all measures; interestingly, they also have a public web service (in beta) that might make some interesting mashups possible
  • League of Women Voters has their always-useful Easy Voter Guide

Opinion or partisan

  • I love the take on propositions on mahna mahna blog, starting with his introduction: “It’s election season, which means the people of California once again have the chance to inflict grievous harm upon their beloved state via the initiative process.”
  • California Republican Party – select your county, then download the 2008 voter information guide
  • California Democratic Party – recommendations for all propositions
  • The Sierra Club has their list of recommendations, typically those related to the environment; surprisingly they also have a stance on Prop 4 (parental notification for abortion) — it seems odd to me that the Sierra Club would have a position on family planning and abortion
  • The ACLU weighs in on 5 propositions related to their efforts
  • The League of Women Voters has published their stance on all but 2 of the measures

(Image credit: on Flickr)