By Morgan Montalvo
Voting rights activists are touting technology as a way for citizens to navigate a political landscape increasingly obscured by fiery rhetoric, half-truths and conspiracy theories, and belief by some that so-called "fake news" shrouds the truth, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
“On Point” and “Vote Easy” are two free apps citizens can download to access information on candidate's backgrounds, incumbent voting records, positions on issues and campaign contributors in order to arrive at informed decisions in time for the November mid-term elections, says Richard Kimball, president of the advocacy group Vote Smart.
"It's basically forcing candidates, with or without their cooperation, to fill out a job application for employment,” Kimball says of the online political tracking tools. “We collect every bit of factual data that exists on any candidate in great detail.”
Vote Smart collates and posts data on candidates’ positions over time, and lists candidates running for local, state, and national offices.
“If they open their mouth and talk, we capture it in key word-searchable databases. If you’re interested in what they said about immigration, just type in the word ‘immigration.’ Any time they ever uttered it, it will be there in chronological order,” says Kimball.
Information on political action committees and special interest groups is also available from Vote Smart. Kimball says Vote Smart as a voter tool was created with the support of history-making political leaders, long before the age online communication and “smart” devices. ”
Carter, Ford, McGovern, Goldwater, years ago. It took decades to build it up until we finally announced it in 2008 formally, and it’s gotten much bigger since then.”
Today, Kimball says, many large corporations and government departments use information compiled by Vote Smart.
On Point, Vote Easy and other voter information programs are available at www.votesmart.org.