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Website of the Week - Project Vote Smart


Time again for our Website of the Week, when we showcase interesting and innovative online destinations. Our web guide is VOA's Art Chimes.

Tuesday is Election Day here in the United States. In addition to choosing our next president, we'll be casting ballots for Senators and members of the House of Representatives, plus thousands of state and local offices. To help them make their selection, many American voters will turn to the non-partisan candidate information on this week's Website of the Week, votesmart.org.

"Project Vote Smart's website is really the only place that a person can come and get just the facts. No hype, no spin, no hidden agenda," says Adelaide Elm, a board member of Project Vote Smart. Since 1995, their website has provided a vast library of unbiased information about candidates for thousands of elective offices throughout the United States.

"We cover about 40,000 candidates and incumbents around the country," added Elm. "We collect their voting records, their campaign contributions, their public statements and speeches, their backgrounds [and] previous experience, and their ratings by competing special interest groups."

Elm says running for office is like applying for a job. If you're hiring someone, you want to know as much as you can about the applicants. Same way with candidates for public office, and she says the vast amount of negative advertising doesn't really serve voters well.

"Most candidates spend much of their campaign time telling us how bad the other applicant for the job is going to be. So Project Vote Smart is fighting that tendency of the major parties and the campaigns and the candidates to twist and manipulate the facts and really get at the information that the people need to know."

The site is updated daily with candidates' speeches and statements, and it's all fully searchable, whether you're looking for information about presidential candidates John McCain or Barack Obama, or candidates for Congress or state office. You'll find Project Vote Smart at votesmart.org, or get the link to this and more than 200 other Websites of the Week including several other recent political selections, from our site, voanews.com.

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