Videos offer help in sorting through state ballot measures

Videos offer help in sorting through state ballot measures
A mom gives her son a preview of the voting process during the Los Angeles municipal primary election on May 21, 2013. (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)

Confused by the conflicting TV ads and political mail concerning the state measures on the Nov. 4 ballot? Can't face reading through the arguments in the official election booklet?

Some recently released videos could help.

First, the Rose Institute of State and Local Government at Claremont McKenna College released its Video Voter Series last week.

The short videos, one for each of the six state measures on the fall ballot, were developed with the help of elections expert Robert M. Stern, formerly head of the Center for Governmental Studies.

Student researchers take turns explaining how much a ballot measure would cost, list its supporters and opponents and summarize what each measure would do if approved.

"Ballot measures present important policy questions, but they are often confusing and the campaigns can be manipulative, said Ken Miller, Rose Institute associate director. "Voters need an impartial analysis of each measure, and a video explanation is the easiest way to get it."

The man behind a nonprofit voter education organization called SeePolitical couldn't agree more.

SeePolitical founder Nate Kaplan, working with the League of Women Voters of California, has created four animated videos, three of which were released Wednesday and began airing in English and Spanish on some local television stations and social media outlets.

The four measures that received the SeePolitical video treatment are Propositions 45 (health insurance rates), 46 (medical lawsuits), 47 (reduction of sentences for drug and some other offenses) and 1, the water bonds proposal; the video for Proposition 1 is to be released Thursday.

A spokeswoman for SeePolitical said budget constraints prevented the organization from including measures on the state budget  (Proposition 2) and Indian gaming (Proposition 48).

Follow @jeanmerl for the latest in Southern California politics news