Richard Kimball wrote today to say that Project Vote Smart's Voter Self Defense "Manual" is complete. He thanked seven different people and organizations for our ideas and for helping make it happen. But in fact, it's the tens of millions of Americans who use this site who should be thanking him and Vote Smart's remarkable staff and volunteers for what they have created.
Usage of the site has exploded. It gets as many as 7 million hits a day (you read that right, that's hits per day) -- a 2300% increase over any other election year first quarter. Their estimate is that will get some 30 million hits by the election's end. Cite those stats to people who pooh-pooh American's interest in politics.
One hundred and fifty-four organizations, Clear Channel, LA Times, Gannet News Service, Dish Network among others are using their APIs to enrich their own reporting. (Sunlight modestly helped Vote Smart's able technologists in this arena.) Vote Smart aggressively developed their APIs because of the core desire to give everythin g they have to anyone might be able to use it, multiplying their work many-fold. Theory proven right.
Many kudos Vote Smart friends. Job well begun! (The job is never done...)Continue reading
I had lunch a couple of weeks ago with Richard Kimball, the founder and president of Project Vote Smart, the nation's premier information resource about candidates for public office at all levels. If you haven't checked out your lawmakers (whether Congressional, Gubernatorial or state legislative) on their site, you're missing information you need to know before you vote.
Richard related to me a very distressing fact. That in this age of transparency, candidates are less willing to tell the people where they stand on issues.Continue reading
There are really a surprising number of Websites that track legislative activity, most of them the result of enterprising individuals. Probably the database with the biggest reach is the one maintained by the Washington Post. Project Vote Smart's probably has the longest history. TechPolitics (which houses and mashes census data and other government information along with voting records and provides bill tracking) focuses on House votes and is headed by the very accomplished Ken Colburn. GovTrac, founded and run by linguistics's graduate student Joshua Tauberer,has an automated system to track bills, issue-by-issue, Congress-wide.Continue reading