All Politics is Local

Local attorney hopes to raise voter turnout, one question at a time

If you’re still on the fence about how to vote in the coming Clark County council and Port of Vancouver races, there’s yet another resource to hear directly from the candidates.

Right2BHeard, founded in 2011 by local attorney Suzanne Kendall, is holding an online candidate forum. Each week leading up to the election, she’ll be posing questions to the candidates for Clark County chair, District 2 and the Port. You can read their answers to the first questions here.

To put it simply, Kendall is trying to get people excited about voting again. She wants people listening to and seeking information about candidates while engaging in “genuine dialogue” about politics over social media.

“I am a person who believes passionately in the potential of our democracy and, at the same time, believes that we are in serious trouble as a nation,” Kendall said.

This online forum, Kendall said, could be a better alternative to the usual Get Out the Vote efforts, like phone banks that she said are “shaming those who choose not to vote and that is so 20th century.”

“Each (voter) could become invested in the discussion, curious about the results, civilly provocative in their discussion online and committed to making up their own minds about who their best candidate,” Kendall said. “It is liberating to decide for yourself!”

Kendall said the reaction to Right2BHeard has been “tremendously positive,” and she has been approached by students at Washington State University Vancouver and Clark College about starting their own “Be Heard” clubs. She’s also working to get permanent space for the organization, so I expect we’ll see more from this in the future.

I have to say, as a millennial who gets most of my news and information through my phone, I appreciate having this information available in this format. If reversing the trend of low voter turnout—Clark County’s was an abysmal 25.88 percent—it seems to me the more ways for people to become informed about their candidates, the better.

Kaitlin Gillespie

Kaitlin Gillespie

I'm the education reporter at The Columbian. Get in touch at kaitlin.gillespie@columbian.com or 360-735-4517.

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