As a 20-year-old college student, I hear a common refrain from many of my peers when I ask them why they didn’t vote: “I couldn’t find unbiased information about the candidates. How could I vote for someone I know nothing about?” According to civicyouth.org, only 21.5 percent of voters aged 18-29 voted in the 2014 midterm elections. If we want to bring young voters to the polls, they need a non-partisan, factual resource to find information on their candidates. Enter Vote Smart.
Inaugurated in 1992 by national leaders from opposing political parties, including U.S presidents Jimmy Carter (D) and Gerald Ford (R), Vote Smart exists to provide American voters with unbiased research on local, state and national officials, including presidential and Congressional candidates. Vote Smart is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, non-partisan political research library. They do not support or oppose any candidates and do not accept funding from any sources that do.
Vote Smart’s website, votesmart.org, and the toll-free Voter’s Research Hotline (1-888-Vote-Smart) provide voters with free access to candidates’ voting records, public statements, interest group ratings, endorsements, biographical information, contact information and campaign finance documentation. You can even find information about ballot measures, local election offices and legislative summaries.
Vote Smart’s online app, VoteEasy, matches voters to candidates who share their issue positions using Vote Smart’s extensive research.
In a world where misinformation, attack ads and flowery rhetoric abound, Vote Smart is the voter’s only defense. Quindecim readers, especially my peers, the millennial generation, the future of our nation, need the facts to cast an educated vote! Please encourage them to visit votesmart.org before casting their ballot next election.
“The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty.” –James Madison