Cybrargonians on the Net #5
By Terry Brainerd Chadwick, InfoQuest! Information Services
This issue explores some of the Internet sites that contain elections and voting information, as well as sites focusing on the political and legislative policy aspects of the Internet. Fun Stuff for this issue is political humor.
VOTING, ELECTIONS, AND OTHER POLITICAL RESOURCES ON THE NET
Since this is an US Presidential election year, librarians are bound to get questions about who has said what where, as well as requests for platforms, voting records, biographies, etc. The following are some of the places on the Internet to find this information. The focus is on US presidential and congressional election information. Election information on local US or non-US elections can be found using search engines such as Altavista, Yahoo, or Infoseek. (Thanks to Bette Stewart for suggesting the topic and providing the first link.)
- Vote Smart Web
- This site, headquartered in Corvallis Oregon, is a "one-stop shopping center for political information." It contains a wealth of information about national and state political campaigns and politicians, including the presidential primaries, congressional voting records, campaign finance data, candidates' positions on various issues, information about federal and state legislative campaigns, 1996 and 1995 election information, educational resources, political humor, audio clips, links to related sites, and much more. Included on the web site are the responses to the National Political Awareness Test (NPAT), covering 27 issues areas, that is sent to all candidates in presidential, congressional, gubernatorial, and most state legislative races. (President Clinton, Pat Buchanan, and Steve Forbes have not responded so far to the NPAT; Robert Dole has.)
Kudos to the Vote Smart folk for realizing that many people have no internet access. At the top of their site is an 800 number for their Voters Research Hotline (1-800-622-SMART) which connects you to to a real live person who will answer your questions and send you a copy of their Voter's Self Defense Manual.
- CSPAN's Campaign '96
Information on who is saying what when, along with RealAudio transcripts of candidates' speeches. There is information about the primary schedule, results, and delegate count, as well as candidate biographies, campaign schedules, pictures, etc. (Best viewed with Netscape 2.0 for frames and requires a RealAudio player available from http://www.realaudio.com/ to hear the speeches.)
- Voting and Elections Resources
This is IGC's (EcoNet, PeaceNet) list of voting and elections resources. It links to Vote Smart, Yahoo and Infoseek's elections pages, ACLU, newsgroups, Center for Voting and Democracy, League of Women Voters, political parties, and more.
- Wocket Voting and Elections
Out of Berkeley, this site contains links to 1994 and 1996 election information for the US presidential campaign, and various state, local, and international elections.
- Politics USA
Contains a Primary Primer, guides to US House and Senate elections, candidate news, information on other key elections around the US, and more.
- National Election Studies
NES conducts national surveys of the American electorate in presidential and midterm election years, and carries out research and development work through Pilot Studies in odd-numbered years. The NES time-series now encompasses 23 biennial Election Studies spanning five decades.
- The following are some of the sites where you can find "ratings" for members of Congress on various issues by special interest groups.
- Environmental Scorecard from the League of Conservation Voters
Contains information on Congressional environmental voting records from 1993 through the first 100 days of the 104th Congress, organized by region of the country.
- Congressional Scorecard from the Christian Coalition
Uses cute icons to show agreement or disagreement with Christian Coalition issues, organized by state.
- Voters Information Services, Inc. (VIS)
VIS rates members of Congress by how they have supported or opposed various special interest groups, how each member of Congress has voted on the
Contract with America bills, and offers the voting records of Congress, based on the Congressional Record but affordable ($1 per vote (roll call number) with $10 minimum per order) and with no copyright.
- Politics by the Numbers
Politics by the Numbers takes a close look at the votes behind the Washington D.C. rhetoric. Besides providing weekly analysis of selected votes cast by members of Congress, this firm offers proprietary software that enables you to statistically analyze, rate and graph the voting records of members of Congress as well as develop other information on the 104th Congress.
- Don't overlook the major sites for information about Congress and current bills when you are looking for elections-related information.
- Thomas: http://thomas.loc.gov/
- Legis-slate: gopher://gopher.legislate.com:70/1
- Here are some other "political" sites that contain voting and elections information.
WebActive is a weekly web publication designed to keep you up-to-date on the latest in activism and progressive politics on the Internet. It has links to other political sites, RealAudio interviews, a "Site of the Week" that exemplifies the progressive potential of the web, and lists "hot" activist projects.
- Women in US Politics
This site contains articles dealing with women in politics, including voting patterns, election to political office, and the suffrage movement. (Articles are in English, French, and Spanish.)
If you're looking for metropolitan voting patterns, check out USADATA. Their voting data, by major market, includes registration rate, preferred political party, preferred political association, and last election participated. Costs vary by report.
INTERNET POLITICAL ISSUES
- The Internet is a hotbed for political ideas and issues, and it has become the focus of a lot of legislative activity and political rhetoric recently. Here are some places that will keep you informed of political and legislative issues that affect the Internet. Special focus here is on sites dealing with the Communications Decency Act (CDA) and the US Telecommunications bill.
- Electronic Frontier Foundation
EFF is perhaps the oldest organization on the Internet with information dedicated to protecting privacy, free expression, and access to online resources and information. They are one of the sponsors of the Blue Ribbon Campaign for Online Free Speech. The site contains current information about US Federal, state, and global initiatives and legislatiion dealing with these issues, plus links to related sites.
- Voters Telecommunications Watch
Focuses on telecommunications bills dealing with the Internet including the CDA, encryption, Exon bill and others. Also has voters' guides and a Congressional directory service.
- Center for Democracy and Technology
The CDT's mission is to develop and advocate public policies that advance
constitutional civil liberties and democratic values in new computer and communications technologies. It sponsors the Citizens Internet Empowerment Coalition (CIEC) and contains information on cryptography, health information privacy, digital telephony, counter-terrorism, as well as leading the fight against the CDA.
- Karen's Kitchen: The Freedom Pages
Librarian Karen Schneider has put together a site that deals with sample library policies, banned books and links to Internet sites with related information. It's a good site for seeing how librarians are dealing with the issues of censorship, privacy, and freedom of speech on the Internet.
- In keeping with this month's focus on politics, here are a few of the sites on the Internet dealing with political humor. Warning: each of these sites is sure to offend someone. Most of these links came from the Vote Smart Political Humor page (http://www.vote-smart.org/other/humor.html) so check it out for a one-stop political humor site.
- Republican Central Committee
This is NOT a pro-republican web site, despite the name and URL. And the sites it links to are NOT approved web sites for republican candidates. Republicans beware.
- Bill Clinton -- President '96
Skewers the Clinton presidential campaign with the same savagery as is done for the Republican Central Committee site. Done by the same people: Aiken and Pace.
- Al Gore's Campaign Clipping Archive
The Vice President's own collection of Gore cartoon clippings.
- The Capitol Steps
The Capitol Steps are a Washington-based troupe of Congressional staffers turned songwriters who do musical political satire. The web site provides a sample of their work. (requires RealAudio.)
- Poking Phun at Politicians
Pictures, stories, audio clips poking fun at everyone from Oliver North to Bill Clinton.
- Political Humor from LaughWeb
Includes quotes from Dan Quayle, Newt Gingrich, jokes about Rush Limbaugh, bills out of the New Mexico legislature, and more. Each joke is rated on a scale of 1-9 (funniest) by web readers.
- Politically Correct Bedtime Stories by James Finn Garner
Contains excerpts and audio clips from his books, including the politically correct versions of Three Little Pigs and Cinderella.
- Yahoo's Political Humor
Another site with links to political humor around the web.
Please send any suggestions or coments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Cybrargonians on the Net will be archived at: http://www.teleport.com/~tbchad/index.html.
Copyright March 1996, Terry Brainerd Chadwick. Reproduction/distribution without the author's consent is allowable so long as it is for non-profit purposes.
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