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August Common Ground E-Newsletter

19 August 2015

 New York City Honors Vote Smart –Again!


 A few years ago Vote Smart was selected by New York’s Museum of Modern Art as the best example of making complex data understandable to citizens.  They focused on our VoteEasy tool.  

 Now again, Vote Smart has been selected.  This time by Gutfreund Cornett Art for its “Change the World Through Art,” program as its exhibition highlight.  The exhibition, “What’s Right, What’s Left: Democracy in America” will run from January 6-30th at the Phoenix Gallery in Chelsea. They have even included our Vote Smart video on their web site!


One Intern To Another

 It was overheard:  An intern just finishing their 10 grueling weeks of work was training another who was just beginning.  The newcomer said, “This is just horribly boring, how did you do this proofing and data entry for 10 straight weeks?” The seasoned intern responded, “If this work was fun and exciting, we would not have to be here. Someone would have already done it!”   IF YOU ARE NOT YET A SUPPORTER OF OUR WORK, YOU NEED TO BE. PLEASE JOIN US AND HELP US ANYWAY YOU CAN.


Kerry McKee Discovered Us On Social Media

"Found Vote Smart through social media. I am fed up with election time to the point I do not want to watch the election news or listen to what they have to say. I will check their voting record and their public stance on issues and then decide on who to vote for." 


New National Director To Be Selected

 Kristen Vicedomini, our great and heroic staff member and National Director for 7 years is moving on in November.  She will be hard, if not impossible, to replace.  She has been everyone’s bedrock, the go-to person, for every problem from technical glitches to diaper rashes.   She leaves the Vote Smart board with the difficult task of finding a replacement.  So far they have looked over a few dozen resumes -- it may be tougher than they had expected.


570 Running for President

  That is how many have filed as Presidential candidates.   You have the “front runners”—those that get all the ink and are invited to debates, but then there are hundreds of others.  Some hoping to catch fire while others are just having a little fun, like Limberbutt McCubbins or Zillionaire Empress Danielle.  Then there are some new parties nominating candidates, like the Absolute Dictator Party or simply the Helluva Party. 

  Yes, Vote Smart’s rules require the staff to cover anyone that files. Staff is not allowed to decide who is serious and who is not.   Staff might request that the board change that rule…….next election.


Presidential VoteEasy Is Coming

 But with 570 candidates we had to choose the top 15 poll winners for display.   Not to worry.  As candidates drop or enter, or move up or down in the polls, we will always have the top 15 without excluding major third parties.  Here is the present list.  

Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Lincoln Chafee, Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, Martin O'Malley, Rand Paul, Rick Perry, Marco Rubio, Bernie Sanders, Rick Santorum, Jill Stein, Donald Trump, and Jim Webb.

 Look for Presidential VoteEasy on our website by month’s end!



 Yes, it was three years and counting. Vote Smart’s softball team had yet to win a single game.  Then this guy came up to bat.  Not sure if Jimmy hit the ball here or not, but it did not matter because in the end it was Vote Smart 14—opponents 7!!
 Marking a Milestone Birthday—Working Two Weeks At the Ranch (Thank You Grace Keitzman, Palo Alto, CA!)

 To mark my 80th birthday I decided to spend two weeks as a volunteer at Vote Smart’s wonderful Great Divide Ranch.  The place is stunningly beautiful with the mountains, lakes, wildlife, and the people were especially outstanding.  I have been a member of Vote Smart for many years and always felt supportive of the goals and accomplishments of the group but was content to send in my membership each year.  This year, as a personal challenge, I decided to check out the actual work being done.  

 My journey began from San Francisco airport, through Portland, OR and on to Missoula, MT airport where I was met by a staff member who retrieved me and an intern who also arrived that day.  The drive to the ranch provided the impact of the “big sky” reality of Montana which is truly immense.  We arrived in time for dinner and were greeted by many young people and three other volunteers with the exchange of names and home states.  The interns were there from states across the country and were in the last two years of their college life.  They are smart, energetic, very aware of current events and care about the future.  In the political area they were super informed and up to date.  

 They worked hard, and it was obvious that they mixed in a lot of fun with the work.  For me it was a high privilege to work with these young people, meet other volunteers (who have spent two weeks every summer for eight years) and be immersed in nature’s beauty, meaningful work and time to reflect on my life.  I return with a deep appreciation for the work being done and for all that has been done in the past.  My life is definitely enriched by this experience.  


From all of us at Vote Smart!

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