Politics online: A Voter's Guide to the Web
October 17, 1996
Web posted at: 11:00 p.m. EDT
From CNN Interactive Staff Writer Liza Kaufman Hogan
(CNN) -- Although the general election is only weeks away, there's
still plenty of time to become a learned voter before heading
to the polls. The Web offers a wealth of election
information, news and satirical fun for newbies and political
Just the Facts, please
Not sure who's running for Congress from your district? Want
to know where a candidate stands on abortion or taxes? Can't
find that newspaper section outlining the candidates'
positions? You'll find this information in seconds on the
Vote Smart Web is a great
place to start. The web site is part of Project Vote Smart, a
voter education initiative sponsored by the non-partisan,
non-profit Center for National Independence in Politics.
The site allows you type in your zip code and get information
on who is running for federal state office in your district,
and -- for those candidates who choose to take the National
Political Awareness test -- where they stand on major issues.
The site also has full texts of speeches by five presidential
candidates, links to other national political resources and
campaign finance information.
For more complete campaign finance information, the Federal
Elections Commission is
your site for one-stop shopping. Here you'll find an
accounting of what people and which organizations have
written checks to candidates running for federal office.
Search FEC files by name or get the names of the top 100
contributors in your state. Find out who your elected
officials are beholden to, or get into a heated discussion on
campaign finance reform.
If you're tired of horse-race coverage of elections on
television, try the Web for political news. Virtually every
major media outlet has some political coverage on the Web.
Among the best known is AllPolitics, a joint project of CNN and Time
magazine. Here you'll find the latest political news
including in-depth daily coverage of the presidential
campaign, political analysis, polls, interactive games,
lively chat rooms, and state-by-state election information.
ABC News, the Washington Post, Newsweek, the National Journal
and the Los Angeles Times have teamed up to provide
PoliticsNow, a merger of the now-defunct political sites
ElectionLine and PoliticsUSA. The site includes news stories
from each of its contributors as well as interactive extras
like a survey that lets you test your positions on issues
against those of your elected officials.
Other political news Web sites include:
NPR Election '96
CBS Campaign '96
Politicians have wasted no time in getting onto the Web. It's
proving to be a cost effective way to take their message
straight to the voters. Of course, these sites will give you
a decidedly rosy picture of the candidate, but many offer
voters an opportunity to send e-mail to candidates,
participate in focus groups and learn more about the
The Republican National Committee's Web site is a well-designed site promoting all
things Republican. Features include highlights from GOP-TV,
illuminating charts and graphs from the RNC and the Clinton
Calendar billed as a "day by day, scandal by scandal, flip-
flop by flip-flop" accounting of the Clinton administration.
It's icon is a flipping waffle stolen straight from
Democrats can find their party online at the Clinton/Gore '96 or learn about the
"L"-word at Turnleft: The Home of Liberalism on the Web.
While you won't find complete coverage of lesser-known
parties and candidates in the mainstream media, the Web
offers something for every political persuasion from
Libertarians to Communists.
Just for kicks
If all this talk of politics has you wishing the elections
were over, lighten up with a few sites that don't take the
campaign game so seriously.
Scampaign ' 96 from
ComedyUSA offers political jokes from both sides of the aisle
and satire from comedian Barry Weintraub. You can also sign
up for daily doses of political humor via e-mail from the
Several election sites offer interactive political games.
PoliticsNow has "The Inaugural Bowl" a political trivia
game in which you are the presidential candidate. Answer a
trivia question for a particular state and win that state's
electoral votes. Win 270 electoral votes and you're on your
way to the White House. All in virtual fun, of course unless
you win a drawing for a real trip for two to the
President '96 from
AllPolitics is another campaign simulation game that tests
your ability, not as a candidate, but as a campaign manager.
Pick a candidate, learn the issues, test the prevailing
political winds, and you make the calls. Win or lose.
For more good political sites, check out AllPolitics
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All Rights Reserved.