By CONNIE FOSSI
VoteSmart.org is a non-partisan website that was founded by a group of Americans whose main goal is to guide voters to make a “smart” decision when electing a candidate.
The idea is to give voters access to key information about the elections and their contestants, including voting records, campaign contributions, public statements, and reports made by more than 100 interest groups.
The website offers a detailed biography of the candidates running at a national, state or local level. The “BIO” includes family, date of birth, religion, education, and political experience as well as information about their election and campaigns.
If you want to get even more details about the personal life of the candidates, this site reveals to their users the favorite quote, song and movie of each one.
VoteSmart also does a “fact check” to the candidates’ positions in a variety of social and political issues, through what the website called the “Political Courage Test,” which is an easy way to evaluate the consistency of the statements made by the candidates.
The good thing about VoteSmart is that you can review in a state by state basis key information about voting registration and the qualifications voters shall meet to be able to vote in that specific state.
The website also offers direct links to the states’ voting registration offices, giving voters the opportunity to confirm their registration status and the documents required by their state.
The benefits of this website go beyond that, users can even enter their zip code and get a detailed list of all the possible elections scheduled in their state including the candidates, dates and locations.
If visitors want to follow up with what their favorite candidates are saying, VoteSmart has dedicated an entire section to key notes and public statements, which is well-organized and constantly updated.
One of the most original aspects of this website is that users can compare their views to the candidates running in the presidential and congressional elections by answering some questions a variety of issues including economy, abortion, immigration, marriage, national security, budget, energy, and education.
At the end of the questionnaire, users will be paired with the candidate who shares the most similar views with them.
As its founders described it, VoteSmart is a “Voters’ self-defense system.”