Do you stand in the voting booth trying to make up your mind about a candidate because you haven't done enough research to know how you really feel? It takes to much time. How can you sort out the truth from the efforts of a PR machine to "plant" favorable information? What "independent" research group is really independent thereby making their information above suspicion?
For the time and/or effort challenged, Project Vote Smart offers a reasonable option.
"Picture this," the Project Vote Smart web site offers. "Thousands of citizens (conservative and liberal alike) working together, spending endless hours researching the backgrounds and records of thousands of political candidates and elected officials to discover their voting records, campaign contributions, public statements, biographical data (including their work history) and evaluations of them generated by over 100 competing special interest groups. Every election these volunteers test each candidate's willingness to provide citizens with their positions on the issues they will most likely face if elected through the Political Courage Test."
The proof of what they do is revealed a few clicks in. Check out a candidate voting record and whether they’ve responded to requests for information about their positions on specific issues.
“This project is an historic undertaking,” according to the Web site. “Citizens come together, not in selfish interest or to support one candidate over another, but to defend democracy. It is an extraordinary gathering of people committed to one purpose: to strengthen the most essential component of democracy — access to information — even as it suffers grave attacks from candidates and political parties, many who are now willing to manipulate information and deceive voters.
“In essence, what Project Vote Smart's interns and volunteers have done is ensure that tolerance will no longer be the only option available to the millions of us who are tormented by the issueless rhetoric and often misleading attacks that define contemporary American politics.”
So take some time during your next lunch hour or after you get annoyed by the latest TV news coverage to check out the site. There’s a lot of good information that can help you make a decision before you enter the booth.
— Margo Pierce