I love the fall. The weather stops being ridiculously hot, the rain comes back, and the school year is still full of potential (granted, I like school better now that I’m not the one in class). There’s also the possibility of something new worth watching on TV and then of course all those fantastic campaign ads:
Ok, even I don’t believe that last one. But hooray for democracy!
So where do you go when you want to know more about that candidate or that ballot measure? I suppose you could just trust the ads, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Instead, take a look at Ballotpedia and Govtrack.us.
Ballotpedia is one of those websites that you think you’ve found everything- and then you find more. Their goal is to provide “accurate and objective information about politics at the local, state, and federal level.” They have information on everything from presidential elections to school board elections and from major national issues to a profile of Louisville City Councilor Madonna Flood.
If you need to know about the Federal government, Govtrack has it covered! Want to meet the Congressman from Arkansas? They can do that. The site is excellent for seeing what elected officials have done in their time in office; i.e. what bills they voted for and which ones they wrote as well as who is on the Ethics Committee.
Both Govtrack and Ballotpedia are great at providing context. Say you want to know how well different senators work together- you can check their report cards. Or you can see what happens to a bill. I especially appreciate Ballotpedia for their detailed look at different ballot measures- I used it when I was trying to find out more about Oregon’s measure 92 and found more than I had even thought to wonder about.
Whether you are casting your vote, writing a school report or just curious (maybe all three!) I hope that these sites can help you see things in a new way. And of course, if you want to know more you can also ask a librarian!
*Bad Kitty is by Nick Bruel and Duck is by Doreen Cronin and illustrated by Betsy Lewin