As we keep an eye on next November’s election, and as entrepreneurs, founders and busy tech company workers, we may lose sight of important elections happening November 3, 2015 in the City of Orlando. There are a few seats up for a vote, Mayor of the City of Orlando and two City Commission seats. The importance of these could be unprecedented for our community. We stand at a time when there are important conversations that relate to our standard of life, downtown culture, the need for funding, the importance of our global brand, innovation like Uber, Lyft and Google Fiber — things that matter to us immensely. The people who occupy these seats must not only have an understanding of what we need and who we are, but also keep lines of communication open with us so that we can give suggestions and advice about what affects our community. Those leaders need to also independently make decisions that will impact us at a time when we have a better chance to lift our industry higher. They need to know what it takes to make our region attractive to talent, investors and entrepreneurs.
We are an intelligent and passionate community, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that we go out and vote during local elections. In fact, voter turnout is typically low for local elections. And whether that benefits one side or another, it is crucial that we turn out and make our voice heard. As of today’s early voting figures (which I found on the Supervisors of Elections website), only a little over 2,000 people had turned out for early voting. In some precincts, less than a dozen people! This means we truly are leaving our future in the hands of a handful of people who may not understand, care about or represent the progressiveness of thought within our community (data lovers, check out the site and you can see pretty detailed breakdown of where people have been voting so far – in my neighborhood, less than 5% of people had early voted).
Keep in mind, demographic data is often extrapolated with voter information by campaigners so the last thing we want is to show that people within our industry did not vote. Our community values diversity and tends to be younger, and thus another reason to make sure that all politicians, now and in the future, understand that we can make an impact in elections, and that considering issues that matter to us is of utmost importance.
Click here to find your polling place.
Snapchat Live Story Covering Election Day in Orlando
On a related note, The City of Orlando is one of a three cities that have been chosen to participate in Snapchat‘s Live Story covering Election Day on November 3, 2015. There will be special Orlando election overlays and filters in addition to the already existing filters for Downtown Orlando that exist. This will be a GREAT opportunity to highlight Orlando to million of users across the country.
If you or your company is using SnapChat and you are a hyperuser or may have interesting content related to election day (you going to vote, election watch parties, etc.), let us know. We are collecting usernames and curating a list for SnapChat as they are seeking out content to share that day from active users. Feel free to email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
We should show the folks at Snapchat that Orlando is a digitally-connected city and with so many proficient social media professionals and enthusiasts within our tech community, I am hoping it won’t be difficult to get a list over quickly.
(Carlos Carbonell is the CEO of Echo Interaction Group, a mobile app development company, and founding president of the board of the Orlando Tech Association).