Two college graduates launch podcast aiming to help Californians vote

Tara Mobasher, Reporter

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Each year, Californians are encouraged to vote in the local elections. Each year, Californians are encouraged to weigh in on new propositions and laws. Each year, Californians are encouraged to consider all possible options for the people and laws that will not change for another year.

In this election cycle, California residents had to understand, among others, Proposition 68 and Proposition 69. Prop 68 will provide over $4 billion to parks, natural resource protection, climate adaptation and water quality. Prop 69 will stop lawmakers from raiding transportation funds when financial issues become too much.

Moreover, citizens will vote for much more than just two propositions. Taking into account how intimidating it is to educate oneself on political standpoints today, people may wonder, ‘How will we become ready for a task as important as choosing our elected officials and weighing in on new government restrictions?’

Luckily, Californians have the resources at their fingertips to understand and educate themselves on these new propositions in an intriguing and efficient way: Undecided California.

Hanako Gallagher is a recent University of Washington graduate with a major in Statistics and Linguistics. After partnering with her good friend Jamie Livingston — a recent graduate from Sonoma State University with a degree in Political Science — they got back into the journalism field. The pair created “Undecided California,” a site that contains podcasts that explain each and every proposition that most Californians should know before they vote. Gallagher, who had participated in journalism during her high school years, expressed how much she missed the field.

“It was interesting to visit the journalism side of things, I hadn’t done that in awhile.” Gallagher said.

In the beginning, Gallagher and Livingston attempted to make their podcasts professional, sophisticated and scripted. However, Gallagher soon revealed that it became harder to memorize a script.

“We do a lot of research beforehand, and take notes, we tried making it scripted, but it made it a lot harder and that’s when we tried making it more casual,” Gallagher said.

The pair creates interesting and exciting work with their podcasts, which cover a range of serious topics. From working on recalling the judge in the famous Brock Turner case that shocked the country, to sharing the history of Proposition 8, which was passed in 2008 and banned same sex marriage, Livingston and Gallagher work on a variety of important issues.

Topics such as these require the two journalists to be sensitive and conscious. With this in mind, Gallagher reminded her audience of how everyone that is interviewed for their podcast will have differing opinions.

“The people we interviewed [for a podcast] probably won’t agree with everything we said,” Gallagher said.

Gallagher and Livingston said that their hope for “Undecided California” is to help thousands of Californians become educated on political issues and has personally taught them how to vote for their respective propositions.