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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Senate approves bill for plain-language ‘explainer’ on complicated ballot issues | Wichita Eagle

Here's some great news, coming from Kansas of all places. As described by reporter Dion Lefler in the Wichita Eagle:
[A] proposal to provide voters with plain-language explanations of confusing ballot questions is on the verge of becoming a state law.
The state Senate has given initial approval to legislation that would allow county election officials to ask a county or state official to write an “explainer” when the language in a ballot measure is confusing or too legalistic for voters to easily understand.

Unfortunately, the explainers would not appear on the ballot but would be posted at all polling places and sent along as an insert with absentee ballots.

FYI, plain language is an approach to writing that concentrates on the needs of readers. It is ideal for people who write to and for clients, customers, employees, organization members, ratepayers, students and taxpayers. It helps us write for people who read at all levels of time, interest, education and literacy.

Plain language principles can help writers be more clear and concise. For more information, visit Garbl's Plain English Writing Guide. It describes seven steps in the process:
  • Focusing on your reader and purpose
  • Organizing your ideas
  • Writing clear, effective paragraphs
  • Writing clear, simple sentences
  • Using suitable words
  • Creating an enticing design
  • Testing for clarity.
Leffler's article appears today, March 27, in my daily online paper, Garbl's Plain English Paragraphs, available at the Plain Language tab above and by free email subscription.

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