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Newsletter Fall 2019


Fight! Fight!


In my first fight the issue was simple. I had been elected our grade school’s basketball captain and Rudy had not.


So, when Rudy stole the ball during our first lunch period practice to go play with his friends, the troubles began.


I looked around, my classmates all just stood there silently staring at me ...... Oh, crap! They expect me to go get the ball. I was certain that the private coward I felt certain to be, was about to go public.


I walked up to Rudy, hoping beyond hope that with my sheepish grin and joking attitude, the matter could be resolved. ”Hey,” I said, “Very funny. We were practicing and need the ball back.” He tossed the ball to one of his friends and sneered, "Why don't you try to take it.” It was then that my classmates chipped in to help. “FIGHT! FIGHT!” they howled for all to hear, and being children, a mob was instantly formed.


Now, in grade school such an event makes or breaks your world’s view of you. I knew the rules: punching in the face was rare, most fights ended up as a roll in the dirt.


And kicking, well that was dirty fighting and no one did it. Besides no one knew how to kick very well, particularly not Rudy, who, prancy dancing and pumping his fists in front of me, tried to kick me. It did not work out all that well for Rudy because I caught his foot and he was now prancy dancing on one foot. As it turns, you can’t look cool prancy dancing on one foot. You can’t really protect yourself either. My right caught him flush on the nose, the fight was over, and I would discover what fame felt like, at least for that day.


Like you, I would know bullies all my life and a few times I would be in a position to do something about it. And though walking away is always an option — often the best option — I have found it difficult to do.


I suppose that is why I have devoted my adult life to helping Vote Smart.


I want to take on the bullies — people that lie, cheat and abuse others to obtain power over their fellow beings. S o, I take a lesson from my classmates of long ago and yell out, “FIGHT FIGHT” and hope the mob will appear, join us at Vote Smart and fight back.




Richard Kimball

Vote Smart President

Vote Smart's Weapons of Truth


It isn't hard to grasp. Candidates apply for jobs. Vote Smart collects facts about them—only facts, and in the same exact categories any responsible employer would demand before hiring anyone for any job.


All easy to find in six categories of interest.


BIO: Education, work experience, etc. — who are these people really?


VOTES: what have they done for you?


POSITIONS: what do they say they'll do for — or to — you?


RATINGS: what are their references?


SPEECHES: what do they say?


FUNDING: who's paying them?

“Other easy-to-use tools that allow any voter to easily find what they want to know on the politician they want to know it about — after all, you're the boss!”


Fight for the Facts


Vote Smart supporters fight back with the facts, the one requirement if a free people are to self-govern successfully. Here is how they do it:


1. Find other supporters interested in backing our students, volunteers and staff with a tax-deductible membership contribution. Members receive regular updates, newsletters and our Voter’s Self-Defense Manual that reviews your congressional delegation’s actions. A bonus? Getting that feeling that comes with doing the right thing.


2. Vote Smart Ambassadors represent truth in communities across the nation. They show our four-minute film to community groups, share our informative brochures with people who they know are fed up with the behavior of candidates, and they may put bumper stickers on their cars and place Vote Smart posters around their communities.

3. Arrange for Founding Board members to make presentations at local conventions, conferences and other large gatherings where citizens want our multi-media presentations on why Vote Smart is needed, can be trusted and how to use its many powerful tools.


4. Contact local news organizations and let them know Vote Smart will give them our immense database to use on their own websites during the 2020 election cycle. Dozens of national and local news organizations are now providing all or parts of our data covering their area candidates on their own websites. It makes them look good and makes their political reporting richer, deeper and more accurate. Even huge organizations like Google, Bing and the Defense Department use our data because they know it can be trusted.


5. Write letters to the editors of local newspapers. Vote Smart can provide sample letters to use or to stimulate ideas about what to write about.


6. Students and members become Vote Smart interns. The Vote Smart Internship Program provides unique lessons in the study of American politics from a nonpartisan angle. Interns play a crucial role at Vote Smart. The individual talents, ideas and hard work of our interns are crucial to our success.


7. Give a Legacy Gift. Legacy gifts from citizens ensure that facts and truth will always have a secure future in our struggle to self-govern. These gifts provide a major part of our student, volunteer and staff support. They can come in many forms:


Bequests

Memorials

Securities

Life Insurance Benefits

Real Estate

Retirement Benefits

or other planned giving options.


8. Thousands subscribe to Vote Smart’s e-Newsletter and receive regular updates on our programs, progress, new tools and media announcements.


PLEASE help: become active in one of these efforts. Call 515-989-6363 or email membership@votesmart.org

72% of Presidential Candidates Fail

Political Courage Test


The Political Courage Test has been conducted in every election since 1992. It examines each candidate’s willingness to give their intentions on the issues voters are most concerned about. The number of candidates passing the test has declined over the years as exploding levels of financial resources have enabled them to control their own messages and avoid straight answers on all the pressing issues on the voters’ minds.


Each candidate was contacted a minimum of 6 times and asked to provide this crucial information to citizens. Of the 176 Presidential candidates tested, 50 were willing to make a good faith effort to help voters by answering questions on a wide range of topics.


Of the major candidates, only Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, Gov. Steve Bullock, former Rep. John Delaney, and former Rep. Joe Sestak passed the test.

Presidential VoteEasy


Vote Smart staff and students just completed compiling answers on behalf of each failed candidate based on their public records. They do this by deep drilling through every failed candidate’s public records.


After divining the candidate’s position, we send the results to each candidate inviting them to correct any errors. When the work has been completed, we present it in our powerful candidate comparison tool called VoteEasy on our website.

Monkeys on a Rope


There are 11 million Vote Smart voters who get their information directly from our factual database, but there are 145 million others. It is a hard statistic to swallow and without funds to advertise difficult to digest.


Yes, there those who get our data through Google, Bing and a few other tech giants that use our data in attempts to get voters the facts, but the reality is this:


The vast majority of voters get their anger from the political preachers they choose to follow on social media and cable news or from the candidates themselves.


These voters do not have the time or inclination to independently look at the facts as any other employers would. They are simply monkeys on someone else’s rope.

Vote Smart Board Coming to Your Community?


Can you arrange a presentation at a convention, college, or other large (200 or more) gathering at a community event? If so, your staff will arrange to have a Vote Smart board member flown to your community to give an exciting 50-minute multi-media presentation covering Vote Smart and how to use its many powerful tools to defend your right to the facts.


While there they will also meet with media and smaller groups interested in the facts. Contact us at membership@votesmart.org or 515-989-6363 for more information.

Coming this Winter


November 13th: We distribute our new 4-minute video explaining why Vote Smart is needed, what we do, why you can trust us and how to use us.


November 18th: We announce presidential Political Courage Test results and presidential VoteEasy.


December 9th: We begin distributing our four new 15-sec. video ads through social media and our new PSAs are distributed to 2,100 stations nationally.


January 13th: Our one-week test of video ads on Facebook and YouTube.

Meet Your Membership and Communications Staff!

On the right is Jacob Petterson, Director, an English Major out of the University of Iowa.


Melissa Lauer on the left, who leads our Members Ambassador Program, was an English/Creative Writing and Studio Art double major from the University of Iowa.


NEVER hesitate to call them for anything you need at 515-989-6363 or email membership@votesmart.org

Bull Story

In our newest Voter’s Self-Defense tool, Vote Smart has partnered with FactCheck.org, PolitiFact and the Washington Post to cross-reference our massive database of 1.3 million political statements with those our partners found false or mostly false so that you know when some of the most egregious lies have been told.


Any time a user looks up a politician’s public statements and one of those statements has been researched and found clearly in error by one of our partners, an image of a bull will mark the spot. In addition, the Bull logo in their profile will indicate the number of statements that were selected for research on that politician and found to be clearly false.


Vote Smart cross-references our massive 1.3 million political statements database with those our partners found contained false statements. The statements chosen for review are solely at the discretion of our partners and should NOT be considered a comprehensive review of all the false statements made by all politicians.

Vote Smart Holiday Gift Memberships

Every Vote Smart Member can give up to 3 Free Memberships to Vote Smart.


Simply email membership@votesmart.org with the name and mailing address of each person and your Vote Smart staff will send them a welcome letter, a brochure outlining our free services and our 100 page Voter's Self-Defense Manual for 2020

along with their free one year Vote Smart Membership.


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