Navigating the Candidates in Campaign 2012

A guest blog by OVEC membership committee member Sylvia Arthur

When it comes to elections many times we are faced with the same questions. Who is this person?” “What are their policies?” “What is their background?”

I would like to show you a few good web sites where you can get information about candidates for the up coming elections.

1. One of the first sites to come on line was Project Vote Smart. It is a 501(c)(3) educational organization funded exclusively through contributions from private citizens and philanthropic foundations. The site is very easy to navigate. You can locate all your representatives, from national to state, through their Voter Self Defense System. Put in your address to get instant access to your representative’s biography, voting record, interest group ratings, issue positions, public statements and campaign finances.

Project Vote Smart will give you information about Federal, State elections. They have a Vote Easy interactive program that matches your stand on issues with the 2012 Presidential candidates. They also have a Vote Smart Ambassador program. Interested persons can receive information about Project Vote Smart to share in their communities. You can also get candidate information by phone at 1-888-VOTESMART.

2. is another early site for following legislators and legislation. It is a nonpartisan news and information website dedicated to encouraging civic participation. On the bottom of the home page there is a link for Elections 2012, where you may explore candidates and get advice on how to talk with your legislator.

Drawing from the newsroom of CQ Roll Call, the largest news organization on Capitol Hill, the website provides daily coverage of the public policy issues being discussed by your lawmakers. Their weekly MegaVote email newsletter makes it easy to track how your representatives are voting. You can write all of your elected officials at one time.

3. A final tip is to Google the search phrase “choose your candidate.” There are programs out there that are similar to VoteEasy. Answer a few questions and the program will match you with the candidate with views most similar to yours.

Do you have any favorite spots that you like to go to for information about candidates? Let us know, e-mail and she’ll pass the info along to me for possible future blog postings.

Stayed tuned for another posting with more information on tracking representatives who are already seated.

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