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The Voter’s Speakeasy featuring unbiased reporting and insight into life at Project Vote Smart from our staff, interns, and volunteers.

Held Held Unbiased Knowelege

2014 October 01 - margaux meyer


I joined Vote Smart in early June because I wanted to help simplify political research so every American can vote with confidence.

So when I was asked to edit and manage the Voter's Self-Defense Manual, I felt incredibly lucky. The Voter's Self-Defense Manual (VSDM) is a free, handheld guide to Congress. At a concise 100 pages, it provides a snapshot of the two-year job performance of both the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.

I’ve always followed government; picking my college major (B.S. in Political Science) was a no brainer. But even with passion and a degree, I sometimes struggle to start researching. If I miss a week of newspapers, I feel so out of the loop. I've always wondered how do people without an obsession with politics stay informed?

The Voter's Self-Defense Manual really should really be called a Voter's Life Jacket. With so many newspapers, hundreds of TV news hours, thousands of blogs, and a tsunami of tweets, finding the basics is next to impossible. The Manual can keep you afloat and help you cut through the chatter.

A few specifics: The VSDM contains 17 of the most important votes from the past two years in Congress, as well as ratings from 17 relevant special interest groups. The votes not only highlight important issues, but also shed light on what is going on in Washington, DC.

It was an exciting process. We had to pick issues that are important, influential and interesting for every ...

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