Coming soon to a YouTube channel near you is an opportunity to see and hear your 2018 Sarnia Municipal candidates speak on screen about their campaign before you hit the telephone and online polls October 11th to October 22nd for the upcoming Sarnia election.
For the tech savvy, YouTube is second nature. For the not-so-tech savvy, YouTube is known as one of the largest online search engines in the world (second only to Google), but rather than hosting articles, literature and text based media, the network is for video sharing only.
My advice? Get acquainted with the platform if you don’t want to miss out on Sarnia’s first ever election video series. Get online, go to www.YouTube.com, and explore. Kicking off the first week of September, each interview will be made public on the YouTube channel called “Into the City with Katie Horvath,” where you will be taken to a library of all candidates’ interviews. Each episode in this series correlates with the name of the candidate being interviewed, meaning their name is also the title of the video. This makes for easy and organized viewing, and you’ll know just by looking at the heading which city, city/county, or mayoral candidate you’re going to see.
The fact of the matter is that Sarnia had only 33% voter turnout in the last municipal election, and I have yet to see any type of all-inclusive series wherein the public is provided information about those who are looking for their votes in such an accessible way. (With 44 people in the race, this is understandable). I decided I would create what I wanted to see and set out to interview as many as would be willing to get in front of the camera to craft Sarnia’s very own collection of candidates to try to promote not just an increase in voter turnout, but an increase in informed voters. It’s one thing to try to raise that 33%, but if the votes cast are coming from a place of unawareness on the part of the electorate, quantity over quality isn’t the best strategy in this scenario. It’s true that we need people to vote, but we need them to be informed before they do so.
My process consisted of downloading the list of candidates contact information from the City of Sarnia official website. From there I sent out emails to the addresses provided, and those who did not list an email as a means of contact were followed up with phone calls. I then downloaded “Filmora,” a free video-editing app, to my cell phone. I got myself a tripod (graciously donated by a wonderful human in full support of this endeavour), quickly taught myself the basics of video editing through a mobile device, and started booking interviews. Soon after recording began, Jason Baker of Sarnia Inkspot kindly offered studio space in his downtown store in support of the project. Some candidates have yet to acknowledge this grassroots attempt at increasing voter turnout and education, but the large majority running graciously accepted the invitation.
I wanted to be able to present to Sarnia a general sense of who each candidate is. The interviews follow a loose 3-part structure of: an overview of the candidate, their reflections on the current council, and what issues they’re running on. This series is to lay the groundwork: introduce you on camera to who is seeking your support. This is by no means an all-inclusive, every-possible-issue-featured approach: it is a general overview of the candidate and their platform. From here, I encourage you to reach out to the candidates and ask them about the specific issues that matter most to you. Pay attention to how they present themselves to you, the voter, and please, vote!
In the age of “binge watching,” I challenge you to binge watch your way into being a well-versed member of our democracy. You can complete the whole process of research, watch, and vote from the comfort of your own home from your own device. It has never been easier for you to cast an informed vote and truly have a voice and say in who will be representing you in our City for the next four years.
I would like to personally thank all the candidates who took the time to put themselves out there and support this project. It was a first for them, it was a first for me, but we did it for you. Why? Because your voice matters. Use it!