Posted by: pendrops | October 20, 2006

voting on purpose


The other day, my mom came over with an “I Voted” sticker on her shirt. Since she and my dad live overseas, they decided to get their voting done while here for an extended visit. “Early voting opened today,” she told me. “Here are some pamphlets on the candidates. Don’t forget to vote!”

Voting is one of the many rights I treasure and take advantage of every chance our government gives me. As one of the myriad freedoms that so many men and women have fought and died for, I can’t imagine not casting a ballot.

To be honest, I look forward to voting day. To waking up a little earlier than usual, standing in line with strangers I both agree and disagree with, stepping behind the 1960s-esque privacy curtain, and pushing the buttons that most closely represent what I believe is best for my state and my country.

However, this year, I wanted to approach voting differently. While I’ve always been generally informed and solid in what I stand for, I found myself tired of the smoke, mirrors, and cheesy political ads. So I decided to dig a little deeper for the truth, the facts, the heart of matters.

I started by going through the stack of flyers and pamphlets we have received in the mail, but they were little help. In all the candy-coated rhetoric, truth was hidden and I couldn’t discern what the candidates stood for. Then I tried weeding through political, news and voting web sites, but they were partisan and skewed.

Today, however, I happened upon a place for truly balanced information on all the candidates: Project Vote Smart. “A citizen’s organization,” they give “abundant, accurate, unbiased and relevant information” about each candidate in the areas of “biographical information, issue positions, voting records, campaign finances and interest group ratings.” (If you go to their site, check out the About Us section first…they are indeed a unique organization.)

Now with non-partisan information at my fingertips, I am committed to learning as much as I can about my candidates for the next two and a half weeks. Chances are, on Tuesday, November 7, I’ll end up voting the way I always have. But at least this time I’ll know why.



  1. I found it interesting the number of presumed Presidential contenders (Bayh, Kerry, Clinton, to name a few) who, according to the site, “repeatedly refused” to answer the policy position questions in the NPAT. My (Republican) congressman HAD filled it out, but there were a number who had not. Admittedly I checked more Democrats than Republicans, but the number who had responded was (on both sides), sadly, inadequate. It will be good for our Democracy when candidates cannot get away with NOT answering these questions.

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