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Candidates have mixed feelings about video voter guide

Local political candidates have until Thursday to complete a short campaign video that will be included in the online-only version of the official voters’ pamphlet.

Three candidates for Port Orchard City Council traveled to Olympic College on Thursday to shoot the two-minute clip, which will be attached to the county’s Web page along with other campaign information.

Kitsap County Elections Supervisor Dolores Gilmore said the inclusion of video is optional, and that candidates can choose any combination of photos, text and video for their official online presence.

The videos are filmed at Olympic College, using a federal grant and a Bellevue company, Democracy First, to produce the clips.

Candidates have a two-minute time limit to state a case that supports their candidacy, with no restriction on content — aside from a rule that they cannot directly criticize their opponent.

The video format is intended to add some personality to the voter guide and give voters a more personal view of the candidates.

Council candidates Amy Igloi Matsuno, Cindy Lucarelli and Jerry Childs have filmed their videos.

Childs, who is unopposed, said he did the video to ”provide a report card for the voters and show them that I have kept my campaign promises.”

As candidates are learning about the media, those in charge of the filming procedure are also gaining incremental knowledge.

“I don’t think they were really prepared,” Lucarelli said of the video crew. “It took them a while to set up. It was a little awkward. I have trouble speaking to the camera and feel more natural in an interview environment where someone is asking me questions.”

Candidates have 30 minutes to make the video, and can do as many takes as possible during that time.

There is no editing allowed, so they must complete a full take rather than splice two takes together.

Candidates are not allowed to submit their own video, and the surroundings are the same for all candidates.

Lucarelli and Matsuno took about four tries to get a satisfactory take.

Childs did it on the second try, although he said the first was superior. He could not use that version because it was too long, and he was not given any cues his time was up.

“I thought I was running a little long,” he said. “They let me run over the time limit instead of signaling me to stop.”

The promised teleprompter was not working at Wednesday’s taping, which caused Matsuno to rely on her notecards.

She said this was not a problem, since she does not like to read her statements verbatim.

Like Lucarelli, Childs feels it might be better if candidates were allowed to respond to direct questions from an interviewer.

Gilmore said the process was still under development and would evolve in the future.

However, there will be no do-overs this year.

A candidate taping a video for the primary will not have the opportunity to produce another for election day. For this reason, candidates who have only one primary opponent may be better off waiting until the post-primary period.

Lucarelli said she was uncomfortable with the video format, both as a candidate and as a voter.

“I like having the voter’s pamphlet nearby when I am filling out my ballot,” she said. “It gives me what I need to make up my mind in some races. I don’t like going to the computer for this.”

Lucarelli will get her wish for the next round, since funding for the printed version of the Kitsap County Voters’ Pamphlet has been restored. According to Gilmore, the county found the needed $30,000 to pay for the project, which it will prepare for the Nov. 3 general election.

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