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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.

Where it all began

2012 January 11

By: Richard Kimball, Vote Smart President 

Behind the podium I pinched my knees together as hard as I could. It was a big crowd, live TV and I was young, suddenly very nervous and afraid they would all see my quivering legs.

My U.S. Senate Campaign staff had told me to close the debate with a vicious attack against my opponent in an effort to expose his temper. But as I looked at him during the final commercial break, I knew I would not do it. 

Instead, when the lights came back on, I looked into the camera and said these words, "Understand what it is we do to you. My opponent and I both spend all of our time collecting money from people we do not know, people who will want access to us if we win. And we both spend the money the same three ways.  First we measure you, we find out what you want to buy in the political marketplace.  Then we hire consultants to tailor our image to fit what we know you want to purchase. And finally, we buy all the television time necessary to bombard you with the meaningless issueless nonsense that inevitably results. And the one who does this best is gong to win."

The audience was dead silent, as was my staff following the debate. However, two weeks later in Washington I visited retiring Senator Barry Goldwater, whose seat I hoped to win. As I entered his office he shooed out his staff and closed ...

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Oregon major party candidates lacking political courage

2012 January 09

We released the 2012 Political Courage Test results today for Oregon's special election showing neither major party congressional candidate running for the state's 1st Congressional District seat was willing to answer even the most basic issue-related questions addressed inside the Test.

Iowa has spoken

2012 January 05

As expected, the Iowa Caucus, the first nominating contest of the 2012 election season, proved to shake things up inside the GOP race.

Can a sweater do that?

2011 December 15

Give a gift membership to Vote Smart and help us keep our politicians honest – can a sweater do that?

Testing Oregon CD-1 candidates' political courage

2011 December 12

Special elections typically are a result of unusual circumstances, scandal, or tragedy, and the race for Oregon's 1st Congressional district is no exception. 

Is pizza a vegetable?

2011 December 08

"...an increase in the amount of tomato paste required for the paste to be considered a serving of vegetables." Do you agree? 

Redistricting: The 10-year shake up

2011 December 07

There is one issue that only pops up every decade with noticeable consequences, and that issue is redistricting.

That's strong stuff

2011 November 30

University of Southern California student, and current intern, David Hernandez discusses his experience working as a part of our research team. 

Response from major parties following 'SuperCommittee' failure

2011 November 29

The inability of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, or 'Supercommittee', to come to an agreement to reduce the United States' government debt by over one trillion dollars has prompted a significant response by both Democrats and Republicans. 

Immigration: What are the presidential candidates saying?

2011 November 28

Research intern Julie Bissinger takes a closer look at what the 2012 presidential candidates have said recently on the issue of immigration.

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