A Guide to Voter’s Guides

If you can’t wait for 2008 to make the political situation in
this country better, Tuesday, November 7, is your chance.
Candidates have been gearing up for months, flooding the airwaves
with information (and disinformation), trying to curry favor with
potential voters. It’s difficult to cut through the campaign
rhetoric to find out what a candidate truly stands for, so here are
a few online resources to get people started.

A good jumping-off point is Project Vote Smart, a nonpartisan
research center offering extensive information on most candidates
across the country. Enter your zip code in the designated box on
the left-hand side of the page to find your area’s current state,
local, federal, and judicial representatives. Below that list,
you’ll see all of the local candidates running for office in 2006.
You can also use the search bar to quickly find the goods on
specific candidates. One of the most interesting features is the
‘Interest Group Ratings,’ which tell you what liberal and
conservative interest groups think of those candidates who have
voting records.

Brooks Jackson, the director of FactCheck.org, recently told
BBC News that, ‘In my considerable experience
covering US campaigns, I can’t think of a more negative one. Both
sides are at it.’ Negative advertisements can be not only a major
source of misinformation, but can also turn people off of voting in
general. In order to cut through the truthiness, FactCheck.org, a
project of the
Annenberg Public Policy Center of the
University of Pennsylvania, keeps tabs on political advertisements
and dissects their claims. From ads smearing candidates as deniers
of body armor to troops, to others accusing candidates of profiting
off of Medicare, the website provides extensive and accessible
nonpartisan analysis that separates the facts from the spin.

One interest group that always has a great voter’s guide is the
National Organization
for Women
. An interactive map of the United States lets users
find feminist candidates in federal, state, and local races
throughout the country. The website also has extensive profiles on
many of the candidates, including a link on how to donate to each
campaign. You can even register to vote through the website, if you
haven’t done it already.

The League of
Young Voters
is a national organization trying to make
candidates listen to young voters instead of just talking about
them. The group’s 2006 voter guide provides well-researched
information on candidates in an engaging format: An interactive US
map takes users to local leagues’ picks for many races with
information on endorsed and unendorsed candidates. You can also
check out individual contributors’ guides, or, better yet, design
and post your own.

Go there >>

Go there too >>

Go there too >>

Go there too >>

Related Links From the Utne

Comments? Story tips?
Write a letter to the editor

Like this? Want more?Subscribe to
Utne Reader

In-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.