Group works to inform voters

| 10/10/2006

Educate yourself. That’s the message from a non-profit, non-partisan group that is working to educate voters about political issues and candidates who want to speak on their behalf.

“Our goal is to provide the most accurate, abundant and relevant information to all voters across the country,” Project Vote Smart spokeswoman Rachel Pagliocca told Land Line.

Project Vote Smart was founded in 1992 by political leaders that include Presidents Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford, and former U.S. Senators Barry Goldwater and George McGovern.

Based in Philipsburg, MT, the group is comprised of paid staff that’s mostly made up of recent college graduates, student interns from around the country and member volunteers who Pagliocca described as typically retirees who help with entering information, checking materials and mailings.

Resources available for voters include registration information and information about ballot measures for the November election.

Also included are candidates’ biographies, contact information and campaign finances, as well as how lawmakers at the state level and in Washington, DC, have voted on what are deemed by Project Vote Smart as key issues.

The group also collects public statements and speeches to see what incumbents and candidates are saying about issues.

Another tool available for voters is the National Political Awareness Test. It is intended to test candidates’ willingness to provide information to voters. When they respond voters can get a glimpse of candidates positions on issues.

To learn more about Project Vote Smart, visit their Web site at or call 1-888-VOTE-SMART (1-888-868-3762).

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor