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

Now Tracking Legislation Impacting You

2012 August 02

If you poke around the internet you can probably find a voting record for your representative or senators. But finding out how they voted on something and finding out what they were voting for can be two very different things. Maybe your senator voted for the “Paying a Fair Share Act of 2012” (S 3364), but what exactly is “a fair share” and who's paying it? Or perhaps your representative voted for the “Domestic Energy and Jobs Act” (HR 4480), but how does it create jobs, or domestic energy? To get the full story you probably already know to go to and search our Key Votes. What you might not know is how that bill got to be a “Key Vote” and the work that went into providing you all that information, on all those bills.

  • The first step in the process to becoming a key vote involves tracking legislation in Congress and all 50 state legislatures. Staff and interns, working at our national headquarters in Montana and our Key Votes office at the University of Texas in Austin, read news articles, check dockets, and contact our advisers* in each state to decide which bills would qualify for Key Vote status. If you want to know more about how we select Key Votes, click here.
  • Next we have a “selection meeting”. All the interns and staff in our Legislative Research department gather together and propose bills. They argue for why the bill fits our criteria, such as how close the vote was ...

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Volunteer Spotlight: Janet Paduhovich

2012 June 26

Are you a member of Project Vote Smart? Are you interested in contributing your time to volunteering? Member Janet Paduhovich tells us about her experience volunteering for 2-weeks at the Great Divide Ranch.
For more information on our Member Volunteer Program, click here

June Common Ground E-Newsletter

2012 June 12

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Will your candidates show political courage?

2012 May 23

Every election year, Project Vote Smart uses the Political Courage Test (PCT) to measure the willingness of candidates to provide their positions on key issues. Find out now if your candidates are currently being tested. 

A Volunteer Experience like No Other

2012 May 01

Summer is almost here and as always, we could sure use help from those Vote Smart members who are looking to pair a vacation with good works. Whether you have watched our introduction video or visited us in the past, you should know that our research headquarters are uniquely nestled in the high peaks, lakes and streams of the Continental Divide, at the Great Divide Ranch in southwestern Montana. You have to see it to believe it! 

April Common Ground E-Newsletter

2012 April 24

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'Supercommittee' misses deadline

2011 November 22

The U.S. Congress Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction was established with the goal of improving both the short and long term financial outlook of the US and reducing the deficit “ at least $1,500,000,000 over the period of fiscal years 2012 to 2021” But they missed their deadline...

The View from Across the Water

2009 October 05 - Bonnie

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