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InSITE: Listing

Volume: 14 Number: 5

Title: Project Vote Smart: the Voter's Self-Defense System

Source/Sponsoring Agency: Project Vote Smart


Date Checked: 10/9/2008      Status: Active

Date Annotated: 10/9/2008

Topics: Politics

Other keywords: Campaign Finance; Congress; Elections

Contents: Project Vote Smart was born out of the frustrations experienced by Richard Kimball during his failed 1986 bid for the U.S. Senate. Kimball’s handlers wanted him to attack his opponent, John McCain, but Kimball refused. Instead, he resolved to provide a source for accurate information about those in office and those running for office. The Project, operating from Montana, is staffed by interns and volunteers who work to provide an antidote to the “mudslinging tactics” of today’s political campaigns. The Project receives no funding from corporations, PACs, or any entity that takes a position on candidates or issues. The website provides extensive information on both elected and unelected officials. Users will find biographical information, as well as issue positions, interest group ratings, and campaign finance data—the data is courtesy of the OpenSecrets site (annotated in v. 8, no. 9 of InSITE). The centerpiece of the site is the issue position information. The Project administers the Political Courage Test, which asks candidates what they will support, not what they will oppose. Candidates are queried about numerous specific items that are categorized into several subjects from abortion to employment to welfare. Candidates are also asked to identify their top two or three legislative priorities. With its wealth of data, users can learn a great deal about both federal and state government officials.

Author of Annotation: M. Morrison

Last Modified: 6/20/2012