Tuesday, July 10, 2018

In Some Cases, Signing Up For Campaign Newsletters Is Harder Than It Should Be

The last time I was actively blogging during an election was 2014. It seemed, therefore, prudent to get signed up for campaign emails and look for party platform points to nitpick. Today is hot, humid, and uncomfortable, so I thought it would be a great time sign up for campaign spam from Noem, Sutton, Bjorkman, Johnson, Ravnsborg, Seiler, Frederick, Barnett, Haeder, Matson, Cool, and Sattgast. I also thought the party websites along with the individual campaign sites would make that task easy. I was proved wrong in several instances.

Both the South Dakota Republicans' and Democrats' sites could be easier to navigate. It takes a few clicks to discover party platforms, the party officers, and their elected officials. One can sign up for spam, find party offices, and click buttons to donate or volunteer. As of this writing, however, neither party has a link or tab with a list of their 2018 candidates for statewide office. Maybe I'm feeling the lack of caffeine or am angry about the weather, but I should not have to consult Ballotpedia to discover South Dakota's statewide candidates. (I did eventually find the Democratic candidates on their blog page.)

On to the candidates. Both Kristi Noem and Billie Sutton make it easy to sign up for campaign updates. Both have policy positions. I do wish Sutton's were not hidden under the "Meet Billie" tab and I wish that Noem's site did not feature an annoying "Meet Larry" video pop up, but the sites are usable and reasonably easy to navigate.

The Dusty Johnson home page may be my favorite. It's uncluttered and easy to navigate. Signing up for email updates was easy. On the other hand, I couldn't find a way to subscribe to a Tim Bjorkman newsletter and there is a whole bunch of empty blue between the "Tim on Twitter" and "Tim on Facebook" sections of the home page. Both sites, however, have easy to find information about the candidates' respective positions.

In the Attorney General's race, Randy Seiler's home page has a lot of stuff on it, but it's clean enough so that I don't feel as if information is slapping me in the face. It's also easy to sign up for campaign updates. Jason Ravnsborg, like Bjorkman, doesn't seem to have a spot to sign up for a newsletter. Like Seiler the site is busy but not annoyingly so. Ravnsborg does, however, misspell the name of one of his endorsers: "YANKTON, SD - Yankton Attorney Steve Hff endorses Attorney General Candidate Jason Ravnsborg." I'm willing to cut amateur bloggers and local candidates a break, but an attorney general candidate should be a bit more careful. Misspellings in a legal brief may have numerous unintended consequences. Also, Steve Huff's son debated for me. Both Steve and his son are wonderful human beings who treated me well over the past year, so they should get proper due. Besides, Huff is not that hard to spell.

Running down the rest of the statewide candidates web presence and newsletter availability. Alexandra Fredrick the Democratic candidate for South Dakota Secretary of State is using a Facebook page, but I couldn't find a spot to sign up for a newsletter. Googling "Steve Barnett Secretary of State" did not produce a campaign web page. In the State Treasurer's race, both Aaron Matson and Josh Haeder have Facebook pages. I could find links to donate or volunteer on Matson's page but there doesn't seem to be a spot to sign up for updates. Haeder also has a campaign website that seems to be a work in progress. That page allows one to sign up for a newsletter, but the Mail Chimp link is apparently broken. Finally, Googling "Tim Cool for South Dakota Auditor" produced no campaign web page. Republican Rich Sattgast has a Facebook page with a broken link for Sattgast for Auditor.

It's admittedly early in the campaign season, and I expect pages to be created and updated, but I honestly thought all candidates for statewide office would be eager to send me campaign spam.

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