Omaha Public Radio News
Fri September 17, 2010
Project Vote Smart launches tool matching voters with candidates
By Katie Knapp Schubert
Omaha, NE – A new voter information tool hopes to match voters with candidates for office in their respective districts.
The nonpartisan voter education group Project Vote Smart is behind the system, called "Vote Easy." Its goal is to inform voters where candidates stand on major political issues.
Adelaide Kimball is Senior Adviser for Project Vote Smart. She says Vote Easy grew out of the organization's long-time election year survey called the Political Courage Test. "We ask the candidates every election year to tell voters something about how they might handle issues such as crime, the economy, education, the environment, health care, tax levels, the war in Afghanistan," Kimball says. "And we have found increasingly that candidates are not willing to answer questions on the issues."
Kimball says none of Nebraska's Congressional District candidates answered the Political Courage Test questions this election year. "What the voter has been left with year after year and increasingly is simply their TV ads, their campaign literature, the kind of nonsense that is not very useful to voters when it comes to finding out which candidate is most like them," according to Kimball.
The interactive system asks voters 12 questions on political issues such as education, abortion, the economy, and health care. The goal is to match voters' answers with the candidate who best represents their views. For example, an Omaha voter's answers would match them to either Tom White or Lee Terry.
Project Vote Smart uses candidates' position papers, campaign statements, biographies, and voting records as the basis for Vote Easy.
More information is available at www.voteeasy.org and www.votesmart.org.