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March Common Ground E-Newsletter

29 March 2013

Spring Update

The snow is finally beginning to melt at the Great Divide Ranch, and despite ski season being over, most of us are looking forward to the warmer spring months. We also said goodbye to winter interns, Laura, Earl, Brian and Emma, and are getting prepared for many more to come!

Our current interns, Noel, Justin and Nick are working hard on profiles, speeches, ratings, campaign finance updates and more. We are also excited to see the progress being made in the categorization of our data, in order to make all our information that much more accessible to you all.

While our interns working in the Key Votes Department at the University of Texas, Austin, are off enjoying spring break, we're happy to report we've had another successful week, releasing 15 bills summaries and published nearly 50 voting records.

Our Political Courage Test Department has been focusing on updating state-specific research for Virginia and New Jersey, as well as entering election results for Texas, Louisiana, Massachusetts and Georgia.

Project Vote Smart Olympics


Here at Project Vote Smart, we're proving that cold and snowy winters don't have to mean boring afternoons huddled up by the fire. Even while we're working hard to make sure you've got access to the facts, we still try to have a little fun. Just a few short weeks ago, staff and interns decided to liven up the snow-covered ranch here in the mountains by staging a Winter Olympics to rival our renowned Summer Olympics.

The afternoon of Friday, March 1st was devoted to the festivities, as staff and interns were split between two teams: Team Politicians and Team Media. They faced off valiantly, participating in nail-biting competitions to test their skills, smarts, and speed too! The events included cake decorating, wood stacking, and curling. There was even a snowman building competition, in which Team Politicians sculpted a stunning portrait of the First Family and Team Media rendered very real-to-life statues of famous TV anchors.

It was a tight race, and Team Politicians held the lead for much of the afternoon, seeming to be on cruise control. But, during the final event – an epic winter relay race – Team Media managed to edge out the Politicians and eke out an overall victory. They were the first to ring the bell and were declared the winners. The subsequent volcano of excitement was a sight to behold. Later on that evening, everyone who participated took part in a congratulatory dinner!

After all the fun this year, the Winter Olympics are sure to be the next Vote Smart tradition!

Our 10-week internships are a great opportunity to learn a range of research skills, as well as be a part of a unique experience out here in the beautiful mountains of Montana. So if you're interested in interning at our Great Divide Ranch – whether in sun or snow – then email for more information.


A Volunteer Opportunity Like No Other

Spring is almost here and, as always, we could sure use help from those Vote Smart members who are looking to pair a 2-week vacation with some volunteer work. Whether you're new to the Great Divide Ranch or have visited us in the past, we invite you to get the chance to experience our unique research headquarters, nestled in the high peaks, lakes and streams of the Continental Divide, in southwestern Montana. You have to see it to believe it!

For more information about what to expect, click here...

Or if you'd prefer, call us at (406) 859-8683 if you have any questions or would like to receive an informational packet. You may also email us at

Related tags: Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New-Jersey, Texas, Virginia, blog, e-newsletter, interns, key-votes, volunteers

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