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The Voter’s Speakeasy featuring unbiased reporting and insight into life at Project 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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Campaign Finance Reform

2012 August 01

With the the 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission Supreme Court ruling, parts of four decades of campaign finance regulation were ruled unconstitutional.  

Member Volunteer Spotlight: Ruth Kranovich

2012 July 30

 For more information on volunteering at the Great Divide Ranch, click here...

Funding for the National Endowment for the Arts

2012 July 27

The United States House Appropriations Committee recently approved the Fiscal Year 2013 Interior-Environment Appropriations Funding Bill.  

Vote Smart Olympics 2012

2012 July 27

The opening ceremony for the 2012 summer Olympics officially begins on Friday July 27th, but here at Project Vote Smart we’re interested in a different race – the Presidential Election.  And while the 10,500 athletes are proudly representing their respective countries, Project Vote Smart staff and interns are hard at work researching the over 40,000 candidates and officials fighting to represent us.


Get Smart on Defense

2012 July 18

At you can find out how your representatives feel about defense and defense spending in a few different ways: 

National Intern Spotlight: Avantika Krishna

2012 July 16

For more information on our National Intern Program, click here.

July Common Ground E-Newsletter

2012 July 13

 Sign up for our monthly E-Newsletter here.

Is the News Getting the Best of You?

2012 July 11

The first Friday of every month is more than just an excuse for the monthly office pizza party - it's when the Bureau of Labor Statistics puts out their unemployment report, an event that is sure to grow in intensity with every passing month as November approaches. 

National Intern Spotlight: Megan Riley

2012 July 09

We threw the spotlight on one of our interns, Megan, and asked her a few questions about her time, so far, here at the Great Divide Ranch...

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