The goal of the pilot project, made possible through a partnership between Representative Hecht, the Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University and Healthy Democracy, the organization that pioneered CIR in Oregon, is to test whether the CIR system can be similarly helpful to Massachusetts voters in understanding ballot questions.
Early June 2018: The team will send a mailer to approximately 15,000 randomly selected voters inviting them to participate as panelists for the pilot project. Of those who indicate their willingness to participate, an objective and scientific statistical process will be used to select 20 Massachusetts voters, carefully balanced to ensure that the group reflects the demographics of the overall electorate.
July 17, 2018: The advisory board will select the measure that the CIR will evaluate.
September 12-15, 2018: Professional moderators lead the group of 20 Massachusetts voters through a comprehensive appraisal of the selected ballot measure. The group will hear from the campaign supporting the ballot measure, the campaign opposing the ballot measure, and relevant policy experts. At the end of the four day deliberation, the 20 voters will produce a statement of findings on the ballot measure.
September and October 2018: Professor John Gastil, Professor of Communications at Penn State and one of the nation’s leading CIR researchers, will conduct a controlled survey and a series of focus groups to evaluate the quality of the CIR panel's deliberations and the impact of the statement of findings on voter understanding of the ballot question.
Through Election Day: Using all forms of media, the team will disseminate the statement of findings as widely as possible across Massachusetts.