League of Women Voters of Greater Pittsburgh Overview
Smart Voter is an interactive web site designed to:
- Provide voters with comprehensive, easy-to-use nonpartisan information about candidates and issues
- Provide a means for candidates to provide information about themselves and their candidacy to voters, at no cost to the candidate, allowing candidates as much space as they need; information may include biography, priorities, endorsers, political philosophy, papers on three issues they choose, and contact information including a link to their campaign web site
- Is available at all times to anyone with Internet access for all elections
- Provides candidate information at all levels of government local, regional, state and federal
- Emphasizes civil discourse related to issues and does not permit statements about opponents or other negative campaigning; statements are reviewed by League members before posting
- Allows voters to find the candidates on their ballot and their polling place by entering their street address
The basic computer and technical support costs for Smart Voter in the 2009 election cycle were $1500. In addition, printing and mailing costs for over 1000 candidate invitations were about $700. Future costs will depend on stability of computer costs and number of candidates, which will be lower in 2008. In addition, the program would be enhanced by some funds to spend on publicity. We have budgeted $3000 for the 2010 election cycle.
Mission: The League of Women Voters of Greater Pittsburgh, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.
The League of Women Voters Education Fund is renowned for its ability to make complex and controversial issues accessible to the non-expert citizen in a balanced, evenhanded way. And the LWVEF is an experienced trainer of community leaders and activists. A special and familiar focus of the League''s educational work is voting and elections. Leagues in communities across the nation provide voters with factual, nonpartisan information on candidates and ballot issues, whether through voter''s guides, candidate forums, town meetings or debates. Much of the League''s campaign to Make Democracy Work is spearheaded by the League of Women Voters Education Fund.
In Pittsburgh, the hub of the League’s program is our Community Information Center (CIC) funded in part through our account at LWVEF. The CIC provides answers to questions from voters around voting, elections, government structure and practices, and more as well as compiling and publishing our Facts for Citizens legislative directory and Voters Guide to elections.
The cost to operate the Community Information Center and produce Facts for Citizens has been about $20,000. This is a bare bones budget. With additional funding, the League could consider expanded CIC staffing, collection of the information to cover additional areas of Allegheny County in the web site edition of Facts for Citizens, and additional projects in Voter Service and Citizen Education.
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