Stateline Story

E-Politics Comes Of Age In Election 2000

  • October 30, 2000
  • By Blair S. Walker

Every state is using the Inernet to educate voters about candidates running for state and local office, accordingto the California Voter Foundation (CVF).

Delaware and South Carolina weren't offering anything online earlier in the early stages of the campaign, but by last week both had Web sites containing candidate lists, CVF's Saskia Mills says.

A complete state-by-state breakdown can be found at Web White & Blue 2000.

Six years ago, no state had election information online. In fact, CVF was one of two political sites in existence, says Mills, whose non-profit, nonpartisan organization wants to use new technologies to improve democracy. CVF, which is based in Sacramento gets 90 percent of its $200,000 annual budget from foundations and has a full-time staff of three.

The so-called Digital Divide -- the contrast between those who own computers and those who don't -- is an obvious impediment to educating voters via the Internet. But it is not an insurmountable one, according to Mills. "We encourage people to take advantage of public opportunities to get online," she says. "A lot of libraries in California have free Internet access for the public.

After surveying every state election agency to see if they had online voter information, CVF found that 50 states offer some kind of election data and 42 states have current campaign data online, compared with 35 states a year ago. Twenty-nine states plan to offer live election night returns online, and 19 states have nonprofit, nonpartisan voter information guides online similar to one offered by CVF, the organization found.

The state-level nonprofit voter guides online are: