In a political climate where emotion seems stronger than reason, an online voting information service called Vote Smart offers Americans free, factual, unbiased data about candidates for state and national offices. The president and founder of Vote Smart, Richard Kimball, will discuss the service in a talk entitled “Facts Matter” at 3:30 p.m. Thursday (July 6) in the Arizona Senior Academy Great Room.
Kimball’s presentation covers the Founders’ views about an informed electorate; the forces at work displacing intellectual campaign appeals with emotional ones; how Vote Smart gives citizens access to specific candidate and issue information; and analysis of the battle between rational voter choice and the obscuring of transparency, truth, facts, and real news.
Kimball is a Tucson native and graduate of the University of Arizona. He started Vote Smart in 1992 following his loss to Sen John McCain in 1986 while vying for Barry Goldwater’s vacant seat. Before that race Kimball had worked on the staffs of three storied U.S. senators, Udall, Mondale, and Moynihan, and was elected a state legislator in 1978.
Vote Smart (https://votesmart.org/) won early testimonials from Bill Moyers, the New York Times, and CNN. US. New and World Report opined that Vote Smart would make America’s Founding Fathers “weep with joy.” This powerful voter information resource educates adult voters about issues, races, the candidates, positions, and ballot measures, and is also used by schools to teach civics.
Vote Smart doesn’t take corporate, special interest, or government money. It depends on grants, donations, and the enthusiasm of a supply of college interns and volunteers from all over America. Since its founding, Vote Smart has worked out hosting arrangements with various universities including UA, Drake University-De Moines, University of Texas-Austin, and University of Southern California.
Written by Brack Brown, Academy Village Volunteer