As you may recall we partnered on a series last fall called Election Our Future, aimed to offer Marion County residents an opportunity to learn more about navigating Indianapolis’ governing structures and to recognize the impact of local government on their daily activities. The overall goal was to increase informed engagement in the civic life of our city, including voting in the November 2015 election.
In total, there were three forums held from September to October. Topics included: How Indianapolis Works, The Issues We Face, and What Do We Want Indianapolis to look like in 5,10,15 years. Each forum included pre and post surveys intended to gauge attendees’ knowledge and attitudes to our city governance. Survey data has been collected and analyzed into a summary report.
From the report:
Electing our Future results indicate that most respondents felt government decisions are not transparent, government is not accountable, and they do not feel involved in the decision making process for the future of Indianapolis. Respondents felt empowered to make change but lacked information on where and how to get involved. It is worth noting that respondents were not representative of Indianapolis’ citizenry. The majority in attendance were highly educated, and had lived in Indianapolis for many years. It is interesting that even this group of relatively empowered individuals felt disconnected from municipal governance.
Electing our Future forums can educate residents on how their government works and empower them with appropriate tools in order to make change. Better informed residents are more effective conversation partners in the many other venues where politics are discussed. It is difficult to quantify the value of an informed population and the contribution that information can make to our political environment, especially given the likely ripple effect. We are encouraged, however, by the number of attendees who told us that they found the forums valuable, and hoped we would continue the effort.
Read the full report, here.