By Jonathan Olivia
I'm a Political Science & Religion double major at the University of Southern California, and last semester, I had the opportunity to work as a congressional and presidential research intern for Project Vote Smart. At PVS, interns and staff contribute to a comprehensive research library of information on local and national politics, which can be easily utilized on the PVS website. Here are some time-saving ways to research political incumbents or challengers on votesmart.org.
What is the fastest way to research political incumbents/challengers using the Project Vote Smart website?
At the top right hand corner of the website, type in the last name of the political incumbent/challenger you're searching for. An alphabetically organized list of every political incumbent/challenger with that last name will appear. Entering a zip code could lead you to a more complicated list, all the way from the President to state representatives!
What is the fastest way to find Political Courage Tests on my local political officials?
Upon entering the PVS website, go to Elections & Candidates located at the top of the page and click on Political Courage Test. Scroll down to the Political Courage Test Results and click on Current Officials in Your State. Then just type in the office and state of the political official you're looking for.
How do I find legislation that focuses on a particular issue, such as abortion rights or same-sex marriage, in my state of California?
This is, hands down, my favorite feature of the Project Vote Smart website. Click on the Issues section, which will give you a list of of the major issues facing America today (abortion issues/sexual orientation/gender identity issues). If you click on an issue, you'll be prompted to pick a state, and you'll get a comprehensive list of legislation.
The Political Courage Test, researching a political incumbent/challenger, or a particular piece of legislation, will be used most by any individual utilizing the PVS website. Project Vote Smart is a unique political research organization because it is one that continues to stay objective and neutral in a field where that is rare. The PVS website is easy to utilize and these three tips will help you in your research!