Project Vote Smart: electoral eyes
With the upcoming elections, voters who are looking for more information on candidates can use the resources of Project Vote Smart (PVS), a non-partisan, non-profit organization that provides information on candidates running for most government offices.
PVS was started for the 1992 elections and provides information about candidate�s biographical information, issue positions, campaign finance data, voting records, and performance evaluations from more than 80 special interest groups that range in view from conservative to liberal.
Founders of the organization include former presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter, former U.S. senators Barry Goldwater and George McGovern, and former U.S. Representatives Newt Gingrich and Geraldine Ferraro. All founding board members had to join with an ideological opposite in an effort to provide balance impartiality in PVS�s programs and materials.
In a typical election year, member of PVS estimate that they collects information on more than 40,000 candidates who are running for the offices of president, congress, governor, state legislature, county board of supervisors, city council and mayor.
PVS�s website offers currently offers information on both candidates in office, and those who are going to run. The website also has been collecting governor�s statements since January of 2003, and offers visitors to �check out what your governor has been saying.�
PVS�s information is free to voters and available by phone at 888/VOTE-SMART or on the web at www.votesmart.org. PVS also offers free publications on candidates, including the Voter�s Self-Defense Manual, which provides information on members of the U.S. Congress, including contact information, campagin contributors, and key votes they have made. PVS also offers the Vote Smart Web Yellow Pages, which is a comprehensive listing of political sites on the Internet.
Estimates are that roughly one third of PVS�s $1.5 million annual budget comes from philanthropic foundations and the other two thirds is provided by the 45,000 contributing members of PVS.