Project Vote Smart provides election tool kit for races, issues
Nevada County voters will answer several important questions on March 2.
Who will represent you locally? Who will represent you in the state Legislature? How many votes should it take to decide how your tax money is spent? Will Nevada County property owners’ taxes increase?
For every question, there is a plethora of opinions and activists who use every tactic available to sway voters in their favor, said Richard Kimball, describing his reasons for co-founding Project Vote Smart.
“Political parties and campaigns have become so manipulative, it’s frustrating voters, and they’re not voting anymore,” Kimball said. “(Project Vote Smart) is designed to allow citizens, whether right-wing conservatives or left-wing liberals … at their whim, to acquire abundant, relevant, factual information.”
On March 1, Kimball will be in Grass Valley to discuss the maneuvering involved in each election and to promote the national resource he helped create.
The Web site – http://www.vote-smart.org – tracks information on candidates running for state and national offices. Voters, who must first plug in a 9-digit Zip Code, can access biographies, voting records and special-interest group evaluations for candidates in their districts.
For example, a search for the Nevada City Zip Code 95959-0000 pulls up the state and national legislative races that will appear on the March 2 ballot. Those up for re-election include:
• U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-California; U.S. Rep. John Doolittle, R-Roseville; State Assemblyman Rick Keene, R-Chico.
The Web site allows voters to click on information about these candidates and their competitors. For instance, the National Abortion Reproductive Rights Action League said Boxer’s U.S. Senate votes have been favorable to their cause 100 percent of the time. The same pro-choice special-interest group, however, called Keene’s voting record, on the state level, “anti-choice.”
Kimball said candidates are often reluctant to provide their positions, relying instead on messages crafted by campaign consultants. So the organization does its own research to find out candidates’ views based on their past voting records or speeches, he said.
March 2 ballots in Nevada County will feature several races involving local, state and national candidates.
Voters will decide on their preferred presidential candidates. President George Bush is the only candidate on the Republican ballot, while Democrats have several presidential hopefuls to choose from. Undeclared voters may request a ballot for either party.
Aside from choosing a supervisor in Nevada County’s District 1, 2 and 5 and three Nevada City City Council members, local voters will have Sierra College’s bond proposal – Measure E – and four state propositions to weigh in on. The Secretary of State’s Web site, http://www.ss.ca.gov, includes pros and cons on each state proposition.
KNOW & GO
WHO: Richard Kimball, president and co-founder of Project Vote Smart
WHAT: “Candidates, campaigns and tactics in 2004” presentation
WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Monday, March 1
WHERE: Grass Valley United Methodist Church, 236 S. Church St.
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