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Be an Educated Voter: Project Votesmart

 With the elections coming up it’s important to have reliable information on who you’re voting on. That is where Project Vote Smart comes in! Project Vote Smart is a nonpartisan collaboration of researchers and volunteers to find, organize, and make available as much information as they possibly can on all political candidates and office holders in America. They mandate a strict balance of liberal and conservative voices on their board and refuse all donations from partisan lobbying groups.

Their dedication to unbiased facts is admirable, but what can they do for the voters? Their most amazing feature is how they provide those facts to us. The researchers at Vote Smart have put a lot of work into presenting mountains of political data in easy to understand formats. One of their best tools is Vote Easy, designed to help you find the best candidate for you to support. Rather than seeking candidates out yourself, Vote Smart asks you a series of questions on your political positions and shows you the candidates in your district that most closely match your views. Unfortunately, at the time of this post, the data for the 2014 elections is not in yet, but it should be in by the end of the month.

While the Vote Easy data may yet be incoming, their second tool, Political Galaxy, more than makes up for it. With Political Galaxy you can research any politician on any issue you could possibly want to know about. Taxes? Guns? Gay marriage? The economy? Any issue. Really. If you don’t know your local politicians, Political Galaxy even allows you to search by zip code to bring up all the major players in your area. Once you’ve picked a politician and an issue, Political Galaxy will give you all the information they have on that position, from how they vote to what they’ve said to how the relevant lobbying organizations think about them.

If all of that wasn’t great enough, they also have a new offering called My Vote Smart. Sign up, give them your email, and pick some politicians, candidates, or issues. My Vote Smart will then track them and keep you updated on their moves, votes, and developments! It’s still in beta now, so don’t expect it to be perfect, but it promises to be a very helpful tool for the information hungry voter.

If you want more information on this wonderful organization, the easiest way to do so would be to visit the Project Vote Smart Website. If you don’t have access to a computer, never fear! All of the information the website provides can be accessed through their hotline: 1-888-868-3762. So now there’s no excuse! Get informed and go vote!

Blog post created by Alex Hoag

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