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Craig's Blog

Poll Problems or Questions? OVL has the Answers

Here's the deal, folks -

Real big news, Our Vote Live (OVL) just launched this morning. I supported the good folks at Election Protection, Lawyers' Committee, NOI, and Ushahidi who developed and launched this site.

It will map out all reported voting/election questions and incidences around the country. You can report problems on the website: or by using Twitter: #OVLreport, or calling into Election Protection's hotline: 1-866-OUR-VOTE or 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA.

The new site allows voters to report problems at the polls, receive assistance from trained volunteers more quickly and easily, and allow for better tracking and reporting on the nature and location of these incidents. Features include:

  • Easier reporting. New systems allow voters to report problems and submit questions and concerns around the voting experience using smart phones, online, and Twitter (#OVLReport), in addition to the existing telephone hotline.
  • Faster, more accurate response. Trained volunteers have instant access to necessary data, including polling place information and local election rules and regulations – streamlining the processing and resolution of complaints, and expanding the capacity of volunteers to respond to reported issues.
  • Greater transparency and more accurate reporting. As reports are filed, the data will be collected and grouped into categories, and then visually shown on an online interactive map and timeline to provide a real-time interface showing the types and regularity of election-related problems.

So please, folks, share this effort and help folks have easier access to voting. And I believe that it's truly our civic duty to vote, so do so for our country!

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Craigconnects to Match $25K in Donations on Crowdrise to Support Hurricane Sandy Relief

Ok folks, Hurricane Sandy is real serious. It’s causing a lot of damage across the East Coast including my hometown Morristown, New Jersey from downed power lines to major flooding. The news is reporting that this storm could be one of the top ten costliest storms in history.

A lot of good folks out there need our help. So I’m doing my small part by matching $25K to relief organizations like the American Red Cross, Feeding America, AmeriCares, IAVA, and National Wildlife Federation, who have their boots on the ground and will be helping people (and the little furry ones) out. Check out my Crowdrise campaign.

And hey, if you can spare a few bucks to these relief organizations please do.

There are lots of good folks who are working on relief efforts, so feel free to start your own fundraiser on Crowdrise too. I will match up to $25K for all donations supporting relief efforts.

This is my small part to make a difference here. A nerd's gotta do, what a nerd's gotta do.

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Hurricane Sandy relief resources (UPDATE 2)

Okay, Hurricane Sandy is a big deal, already caused a lot of damage and is expected to cause even more harm to communities across the EastCoast.

Here's a list of Hurricane Sandy relief resources we compiled. We'll keep adding to this list too.

Let me know if you have other credible resources too.

Stay safe.

Hurricane Kit: Explaining Hurricanes to Kids with Big Bird

NYT Readers Photo of Hurricane Sandy

A Facebook Page for Lost and Found pets
Preparing Makes Sense for People with Disabilities and Other Access and Functional Needs

Disaster Safety & Preparedness Guide for Seniors & People with Disabilities

First Aid Kit Tips for your Pets
Prepare a first-aid kit for your pets and to be aware of how to treat common injuries. Some tips here.

American Red Cross
To find a shelter, people can download the Red Cross Hurricane app :

You can find a list of currently open Red Cross shelters at:

Visit the Red Cross web site: or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

People should also register on the Red Cross Safe and Well website, a secure and easy-to-use online tool that helps families connect during emergencies:

@NotifyNYC on Twitter
Folks in NYC, you can text ‘follow NotifyNYC’ to 40404 to get @NotifyNYC ( tweets as text messages.

Google Crisis Map
Google Crisis map that has good information about Hurricane Sandy as well as shelter information:

Disaster Assistance
A secure, user-friendly web portal that consolidates information about federally funded government assistance to disaster victims, including the ability to apply for FEMA benefits directly online:

State Offices of Emergency Management
A list of the emergency management offices in all 50 states plus territories:

Disaster Distress Helpline
The Disaster Distress Helpline (DDH) is the first national hotline dedicated to providing year-round disaster crisis counseling.

This toll-free, multilingual, crisis support service is available 24/7 via telephone (1-800-985-5990) and SMS (text `TalkWithUs' to 66746)  residents in the U.S. and its territories who are experiencing emotional distress related to natural or man-made disasters:

How to help
The folks at Huffington Post have a great resource, note some redundancy: 

Restoring trustworthiness to news

Hey there, folks, I'm speaking at the Poynter Journalism Ethics Symposium today. I'm giving my speech right about now, and this is what I'll be saying and talking about:

I'm speaking only as a news consumer, I just want news I can trust.

The press should be the immune system of democracy, and needs to fulfill that role again.

The observations I make are based on insights from industry insiders, many of whom are at the Poynter symposium. I really appreciate your presence here, and your ongoing work, for being in the vanguard of restoring trustworthiness to the news.

My hope is that the outcome of this effort will move the needle regarding trustworthiness of the news industry.

There're many paths toward that end, and they're all far more difficult than I imply here. I'm guessing these are required for survival of the news industry, and might allow premium news operations to thrive.

For example, we need to establish fact-checking as the norm for all significant news stories. Previous fact-checking of specific sources  should drive future analysis; if a source has a poor record, that should be made clear.

It's also time to end the pretense of objectivity in frequent situation where one side of a story just isn't real, and someone is brought in to present a deceptive position.

That's what folks sometimes call "false balance," similar to the "CNN leaves it there" problem. In both variations, the interviewer presents a platform for a speaker to lie to the public,  unchallenged, and often in a manner that amplifies an existing deception. (For later: is the interviewer and/or news org complicit in deception when the lie is aired without effective challenge?)

Finally, how do we restore ethical practices to industry players  which shun them as outdated and inefficient?  A superior ethical code might lead to industry self regulation. It that's perceived as unworkable, market forces might solve the problem; only ethical news orgs would be perceived as trustworthy, and worth paying for. A legal solution might become an unintended consequence; unethical news orgs might be regarding as unprotected by First Amendment and shield law protections. That might cause enormous liability issues.

We need a trustworthy press to serve as the immune system of our democracy, and my hope is that we can move the needle in that direction with this symposium and its aftermath.

Stand up for America on Election Day

Hey, the Founders of the US tell us that everyone is equal in the eyes of the law, meaning that citizens have the right to vote. However, there are politicians who don't like that, and they're attacking the integrity of the election by making it hard for people to vote.

I'd like you to help out all Americans fulfill what I feel is an actual duty to our families, neighborhoods, and the country.

Short version, check out:

The non-partisan Election Protection coalition needs your help!  Through the 1-866-OUR-VOTE hotline and a comprehensive legal field deployment as well as a robust grassroots component, Election Protection helps ensure eligible voters are able to participate in our democracy while collecting data for meaningful reform so that our elections are free, fair, and accessible.

How you can help:
Election Protection is currently recruiting attorneys, paralegals, and law students to:

  • Serve as hotline call center volunteers on or before Election Day.
  • Participate in legal field deployments on Election Day to ensure the process is running properly.

How anyone help:

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