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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Vote Smart keeps public informed

    With the presidential election in mere weeks, issues close to the hearts of voters can be just a click away.

    “”It only takes 30 seconds to sway someone emotionally,”” said Tallie Spiller, Project Vote Smart internship coordinator. “”We are trying to encourage people to do a little more work and let the candidates sway them on an intellectual basis. Our goal is to make it as easy as possible to access the relevant information.””

    Project Vote Smart is a primarily student-run organization that is dedicated to maintaining the public’s access to accurate information about government officials, members of Congress and presidential candidates.

    The free Web site “”exposes”” the candidates voting records, issue positions, campaign finances and includes candidate ratings and public statements. Also included is a biography about each candidate at all levels of government.

    “”People can access all of the information on our Web site. We find our information from places like the Library of Congress, press releases or candidate’s speeches. Our job is to pick out the relevant information on where candidates stand on the issues that most affect the public,”” Spiller said.

    Due to the upcoming presidential election, the Web site is receiving much more attention, getting around 16 million hits a day.

    Interested but uninformed voters are looking to Vote Smart to provide accurate and unbiased information.

    “”We are virtually the only Web site that has no political agenda; we are here to inform voters in order to enable them to make an informed decision,”” Spiller said.

    Because of Vote Smart’s user-friendly approach, even the least politically inclined students can gain an edge in understanding what is at stake in the upcoming election, said Thomas Linderman, political science junior.

    “”A lot of my friends were turned off to politics, but I was still really interested in government,”” he said. “”I bring home the new information about what is going on in politics, and my friends have realized that government is not as difficult to understand as they thought.””,

    During one semester at the UA, the Vote Smart office has around 50 interns or work-study students running the Web site. Any student, at sophomore standing or above, can apply to be an intern by e-mailing internaz@votesmart.org with a cover letter and resume. Vote Smart offers political science credit to interns, but encourages any student, no matter what their major, to get involved.

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