06 Apr Tired of the spin? ExpertVoter website makes candidate selection easier
With the presidential primaries less than a year away, campaigns are hustling to build momentum and capture the hearts of their party’s voters. Interestingly, voters are using every available technology to make their hearts known long before they reach the polls.
This election cycle may be the most democratic in modern history, thanks to blogs and other consumer-generated content. But sifting through all that content will be a challenge for voters simply looking to understand candidates’ positions on major issues.
That’s where ExpertVoter comes in. Among the countless partisan blogs, this site tries to present a complete and unbiased window into the campaign by aggregating candidate videos found on YouTube, and by organizing them by the hotbed political issues such as healthcare, the war in Iraq, immigration, and even campaign finance reform.
The site, which claims to be politically neutral, certainly casts a wide net in presenting potential candidates. I thought I was pretty politically savvy, but I somehow missed Libertarian candidate Steve Kubby, Humanistic Party frontrunner Lanakila Washington, and a dozen other declared candidates whose campaigns aren’t likely to make the evening news.
Visitors to the site can recommend videos for inclusion on the site, as long as the video addresses a candidate’s position on a listed issue and is five minutes or less. The site gives candidates the right to choose which video clip best represents their position and clips submitted by or obtained from the candidates’ official sites are highlighted.
The site only covers officially declared candidates (exploratory committees need not apply) and nine key issues (Iraq, health care, immigration, energy/climate, nuclear proliferation, education, Social Security, taxes, and campaign reform). The site’s editor, Gary Stark, keeps his political counsel to himself, while openly inviting site visitors to submit videos and issues for further consideration.
ExpertVoter.org doesn’t intend to aggregate all political websites. Instead, it gathers up candidates’ perspectives, placing them side by side so voters can see for themselves how candidates speak to core campaign issues.
The campaign season is early yet, but with so much money and attention already pouring into the race, voter fatigue is bound to set in long before the first primary elections can be held next winter. Sites like ExpertVoter.org will go a long way in helping citizen voters stay focused on important issues by letting them hear the candidates in their own voices, free of spinmeisters.
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Shipley has covered the personal technology business since 1984, and is regarded as one of the top analysts covering the technology industry today. She has worked as a writer and editor for a variety of technology consumer magazines, including PC Week, PC Magazine, PC/Computing, and InfoWorld, US Magazine, and Working Woman.
She has written two books on communications and Internet technology, she has won numerous awards for journalistic excellence, and was named the No. 1 newsletter editor by Marketing Computers two years in a row. To subscribe to DEMOletter please visit: http://www.idgexecforums.com/demoletter/index.html.
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