Thirty years ago, Vote Smart was founded on the belief that access to factual, unbiased information is crucial to democracy and the ability to self-govern. Now more than ever, the mudslinging tactics common in all levels of politics hinder people’s ability to make decisions based on facts when deciding who they want to govern us. Since our founding in 1992 by Richard Kimball and political leaders such as former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford, Vote Smart has been committed to creating greater transparency in American politics to help voters make informed decisions. Our staff, interns, and volunteers work tirelessly to ensure that tolerance is not the only option available to the millions of people tormented by the baseless rhetoric and misleading attacks that define contemporary American politics.
We’ve accomplished a lot in the last thirty years in pursuit of that goal. We’ve released nineteen editions of our Voter’s Self-Defense Manual since we started compiling them in 1993, in which we provide information on interest group ratings, key votes, and campaign finances for all incumbents up for election that year—we covered 530 current congressional officials in our 2022 edition. Ahead of each general election, we’ve urged candidates to take our Political Courage Test to show their constituents where they stand on the top concerns of Americans that they will likely face if elected. For those who refuse to take the test, we use their public record, including statements, voting record, special interest group ratings, and endorsements, to provide information on their issue positions for voters.
This year, 2.6 million people used our website to research candidates and officials ahead of Election Day; more than 500,000 of those users visited our website between November 2 and November 8. As the 2022 midterm election cycle wraps us and we look ahead to the 2024 presidential election, Vote Smart will continue to work to bring free, unbiased information about candidates and elected officials to Americans.
This was written by Ashley Peldiak; she is a communications associate at Vote Smart, with a degree in English and experience creating and editing content for various mediums including social media.