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September Common Ground E-Newsletter

28 September 2012

News from the Texas Office

In January 2011, we moved our Legislative Research department to facilities graciously offered by the University of Texas at Austin, thus beginning a blossoming partnership between Project Vote Smart and the faculty and staff of the University of Texas' Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life.

With the help of the University and the Institute, we were able to launch our Legislative Research Internship Program, which has grown from just 13 students in its first semester to nearly 30 students today. Our team of talented interns, along with the Department’s 3 full-time staff members, selects more than 1,000 Key Votes each year from Congress and the 50 state legislatures. We publish legislators’ voting records and write clear, accurate, and non-partisan summaries of each bill, which are available to the public on the legislation page of our website. 

Project Vote Smart takes the mystery out of complex legislation with our easy-to-read bill summaries.  In addition, we are committed to providing free access to congressional and state voting records, so we have all of our key votes grouped by issue so that users can quickly locate bills of interest.  To see the results of all our Legislative Research interns’ hard work, click here.

Factual, Nonpartisan and it fits in your pocket! 

Not a member of Vote Smart and want to request your copy of the 2012 Voter's Self Defense Manual? Call us toll-free at
1-888-VOTESMART, or send us your mailing address to


The manual adds yet another resource for voters this election year, joining our website (, toll-free Hotline (1-888-VOTE-SMART), and VoteEasy tool, in providing all Americans with accurate and unbiased information on candidates and elected officials.

Do you know a group or organization who would be interested in this non-partisan, factual guide to the 2012 presidential candidates and congressional members?

Ask us for multiple copies!


If you love our work then tell the world!

GreatNonprofits – a review site like Yelp or TripAdvisor – is honoring highly reviewed nonprofits with their 2012 Top-Rated Awards. Won’t you help us raise visibility for our work by posting a review of your experience with us? All reviews will be visible to potential donors and volunteers. It’s easy and only takes a minute, click here to get started!

Do your candidates have political courage? 

Did you know there is still quite a lot to be found at on the state legislative and gubernatorial candidates running in your state. To be specific, we cover approximately 14,000 candidates seeking state office this election season alone.

We begin our state-level candidate coverage by attempting to find their issue positions through the State-Specific Political Courage Test. Every candidate that qualifies for the General Election is contacted, which in some cases proves to be a challenging process as states have widely varying legislative bodies. Example being, the 49 seat unicameral Nebraska Legislature, to the larger 424 member New Hampshire General Court (which is almost as large as the U.S. Congress). Each candidate is mailed the Test multiple times, and as you can imagine, staff, interns, and volunteers spend quite a bit of time ensuring that these candidates are given a fair chance to respond.
Read More 

Related tags: 2012-election, blog, elections, e-newsletter, greatNonprofits, key-votes, vote-easy, VSDM

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