Resources

Commercial

www.washingtonpost.com
Latest news stories on political races. Links to candidates'Web sites. Provides maps of races state-by-state, broken down by district. Links to state government Web sites.

Not-for-profit

www.aarp.org/elections/presidential
Page on the site of the American Association of Retired People. Includes a newsletter, primary schedules, video clips on election issues, suggested questions for candidates and information on health issues. 

www.bettercampaigns.org
Site of the Alliance for Better Campaigns, a group founded and directed by an ex- Washington Post reporter. The honorary chairs are former Presidents Carter and Ford and Walter Cronkite. The group seeks to promote political campaigns free of negative attack ads and sound bites. The site issues briefs on campaigns and links to civic and reform groups.

www.calvoter.org
A good example of a state-level group. This California guide provides voters with information on elections and state propositions. Also includes links to campaign sites.

www.cdi.org
Site of the Center for Defense Information, an organization founded by ex-military people dedicated to educating the public about America's weapon production.

www.commoncause.org
Site of Common Cause, a nonprofit, nonpartisan citizens lobbying organization that works on campaign finance reform, ethics reform, limiting the influence of PACs and making government more accountable, which features reports on candidates' donors with amounts and also charts campaign expenditures.

www.cspan.org/
Link to election information.  

www.dnet.org
Site sponsored by the League of Women Voters Fund and the Center for Governmental Studies. Users may enter their zip codes to find candidates in their district. Includes links to other public interest group sites and a thorough list of deadlines for voter registration and registration information. Links to sites of major and minor national and local political parties.

www.e-democracy.org
Democracies Online, an organization that "promotes civic participation and democracy efforts around the world through information exchange, experience sharing, outreach and education. " Focuses on politics in Minnesota. This site features forums, an online magazine, candidate debates, etc. The site also promotes international exchange of ideas and experiences about democracy.

www.lwv.org
Site of the League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization that encourages voter participation. Site contains a detailed map of the organization, issues under discussion, voter registration information and links to local branches of the organization.

www.netelection.org
A project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, in cooperation with the Center for Governmental Studies and the Center for Public Integrity, this site features information about the role of the Internet in American political campaigns. Features magazine-style reports about various campaigns and a substantive bibliography of scholarly material on the Internet and politics.

www.nvri.org
Site of the National Voting Rights Institute, a non-profit that challenges the constitutionality of current campaign finance through litigation and public education. Site contains legal briefs from past and present projects, news items and links to state organizations working on similar issues.

www.opensecrets.org/home/index.asp
The Web site of the Center for Responsive Politics. It has a searchable database that helps users trace, in national and state elections, the amounts of contributions for each candidate and their sources. Users can also search by donor or PAC.

www.publicagenda.org
Nonpartisan, non-profit site that features excellent coverage of national issues, offers a page to aid users in finding local candidates and links to foundations that give money to public policy groups.

www.vote-smart.org
Site of Project Vote Smart, an organization that partners with the American Library Association, where users can find candidates by entering their zip codes. Also included is information on where to vote, voter registration details and national and state candidate profiles, including positions and voting records.
Libraries can register with Project Vote Smart to receive a free resource book, a Web site guide, a reporter's source book and a toll-free service that puts them in touch with researcher. To register, see the Project Vote Smart Web site or contact the organization at Project Vote Smart, One Common Ground, Philipsburg, MT 59858.
Telephone: 406-859-8683.
E-mail: libraries@vote-smart.org.

 

"Whatever the cost of our libraries, the price is cheap compared to that of an ignorant nation."
—Walter Cronkite

Government

www.elections.state.ny.us/
An example of a state-run site, this one from New York contains, among other things:

  • Registration and voter information
  • Campaign finance information
  • Election results
  • Election law
  • Rules on running for office
  • District maps

www.fec.gov
Site of the Federal Election Committee that features guides for those wishing to run for office; members of the media covering elections; resources on campaign finance reform; and the structure of the U. S. election system (electoral college, etc.).

www.fec.gov/votregis/vr.htm
Site of the National Mail Voter Registration Form. Users may print out this form to register to vote.

www.gpo.gov
Site of the U. S. Government Printing Office, which hosts government documents, including the latest legislative initiatives and successes.

Political Party Official Web Sites

www.cpusa.org
Official site of the Communist Party USA

www.democrats.org
Official site of the Democratic National Committee

www.greens.org
Official site of the Green Party

www.lp.org
Official site of the Libertarian Party

www.natural-law.org
Official site of the Natural Law Party

www.reformparty.org
Official site of the Reform Party

www.rnc.org
Official site of the Republican National Committee

www.sp-usa.org
Official site of the Socialist Party USA

CD-ROMs

All About Elections
(Grade 4 to adult). Describes who can vote, how candidates are selected and how elections are conducted. Defines concepts like political party, voter registration, primary elections, party conventions, nominations, campaign strategies, debates, polls and ballots, referenda and the electoral college. Requires Windows 95 or MAC OS. See www.libraryvideo.com.

Decisions, Decisions 5.0: On the Campaign Trail
(Grades 5 to 12). Covers presidential elections, party politics, liberal vs. conservative policies and the democratic process. Students role-play a third-party presidential candidate where they are pressed for their positions on issues ranging from the economy and defense spending to heath care and crime. See www.libraryvideo.com.

Videos

The Almost Painless Guide to the Branches of Government
(AGC/United Learning: Niles, IL, 1998) An informative and entertaining trio of programs providing a solid overview of the inner workings of (and checks and balances within) the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches of our federal government.

Amendments to the Constitution
(Cambridge Educational: South Charleston, WV, 1999) An entertaining an enlightening 20-volume look at the genesis, subsequent history and continuing importance of the amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

The American Civil Liberties Union: A History
(Films for the Humanities & Sciences: Princeton, NJ, 1997) A fascinating history of the ACLU's creation following WWI, mission to defend the rights of Americans guaranteed under the constitution and stormy battles over the past 80 years.

The Best Campaign Money Can Buy
(PBS Video: Alexandria, VA, 1992). A PBS Frontline documentary that asks, "Does big money control our elections? "Focuses on the 1992 presidential election. Campaigning for the Presidency (PBS Video: Alexandria, VA, 1992). Campaign managers and political advisors to Republican and Democratic candidates from 1968 to 1988 examine various aspects of the election process. Congress: The History and Promise of Representative Government (PBS Home Video: Beverly Hills, Calif., 1996). David McCullough narrates this exploration into the history of an American institution. Through historical photographs and newsreels, evocative live footage and interviews with David Broder, Alistar Cooke, Cokie Roberts, Charles McDowell and others, the film chronicles the personalities, events and issues of the first 200 years of Congress. Directed by Ken Burns. See www.libraryvideo.com.

Bidding for Office: Who Should Pay for Elections?
(Knowledge Unlimited: Madison, WI, 1998) Teens explore and debate the basics of campaign financing and reform.

Crisis of Democracy
(Films for the Humanities and Sciences: Princeton, 1996). Bill Moyers moderates a discussion with prominent political thinkers about the democratic process.

C-Span
The cable television network provides 24-hour coverage of congressional hearings, debates, campaigns and more.

Democracy in a Different Voice: Lani Guinier
(Insight Media: New York, 1995). Political thinker Lani Guinier discusses her views on democracy.

Electing the President: An American Government Series
(PBS Video: Alexandria, VA, 1996). Five sixty-minute programs exploring how presidents get elected. Election Day
(Grades K to 4). Explains activities that precede Election Day and reviews different levels of public office elections along with constitutional amendments that gave all groups of Americans the right to vote. Children also explore the history of voting and examine the attributes of a good leader by watching as a group of middle school students elect their class president. See www.libraryvideo.com.

A Third Choice
(PBS Video: Alexandria, VA, 1996). A look at the role of third parties in shaping American politics.

Reference Books

The Almanac of American Politics Michael Barone and Grant Ujifusa, with Richard E. Cohen and Charles E. Cook, Jr. (New York: E. P. Dutton, annual). Published by National Journal Group, Inc., a for-profit Washington, D. C., publisher. The authors are a political journalist and political consultant.

  • State-by-state breakdown of members of Congress, with career biographies and broad histories of corresponding districts
  • Ratings of members 'voting records by left to right interest groups
  • Thorough appendix of House and Senate committees, with contact information and lists of members and their districts

Campaign and Election Reform: A Reference Handbook
Glenn H. Utter and Ruth Ann Strickland (Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 1997). Two professors of political science guide readers to print and non-print resources on the history and current activity of election and campaign reform.

Campaign Finance Reform: A Sourcebook
The Brookings Institute (Washington, D. C. : The Brookings Institute Press, 1997). A collection of essays and documents tracing the history, up to 1996, of attempts to reform the way campaigns raise and use money.

The HarperCollins Dictionary of American Government and Politics
Jay M. Shafritz (New York: HarperCollins, 1992). Compiled and authored by a professor of public and international affairs at the University of Pittsburgh. Provides definitions of election and political terminology and copies of documents such as the Declaration of Independence and the U. S. Constitution.

How Congress Works, 3rd Edition
(Washington, D. C. : Congressional Quarterly, Inc., 1998). An excellent guidebook to the day-to-day machinations of Congress, with historical illustrations of the process of lawmaking.

Political Market Place U. S.
George Thomas Kurian and Jeffrey Schultz (Phoenix: Oryx Press, 1999). A reference book that includes information about local party headquarters, including "third " parties; political associations, left to right; political action committees; political science research institutes; think tanks; and federal and state election commissions.

Presidential Campaigns: Revised Edition
Paul F. Boller, Jr. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996). A history of presidential campaigns, focusing on the idea that nasty, negative campaigning is nothing new.

Restoration: Cong ess, Term Limits and the Recovery of Deliberative Democracy
George Will (New York: The Free Press, 1992). The author is a journalist/ pundit who provides a defense of term limits for Congressional office.

Popular Books Democracy in America
Alexis De Toqueville (New York: New American Library, 1991) Democracy on Trial Jean Bethke Elshtain (New York: Basic Books, 1995)

Electing the People's House, 1998: A Collection of Statistical and Written Analyses
Robert Richie (Washington, D. C.: Center for Voting and Democracy, 1998)

If the Gods Had Meant Us to Vote, They Would Have Given Us Candidates
Jim Hightower (New York: HarperCollins Publishers Inc., 2000)

How Congress Gets Elected
Rhodes Cook (Washington, D. C. : Congressional Quarterly, Inc., 2000)

The Little Book of Campaign Etiquette
(Washington, D. C.: Brookings Institution Press, 1998)

A New Kind of Party Animal: How the Young are Redefining Politics As Usual
(New York: Simon and Schuster, 1998)

The Web of Politics: The Internet' s Impact on the American Political System
Richard Davis (New York: Oxford, 1999)

Why Americans Don't Vote
Frances Fox Piven and Richard A. Cloward (New York: Pantheon Books, 1988)

For Children

Web Sites

www.headbone.com/derby/polls
"Iz and Auggie Go to the Polls. " Students learn the fundamentals of Internet research and apply their knowledge of key aspects of American government. The Iz and Auggie story line is presented in comic strip format, with a research puzzle at the end of each episode. The site has been designed around the National Content Standards for Social Studies. A Teacher 's Guide includes suggestions for use with each grade level (4-8) and provides age-appropriate classroom extensions and related off-line activities.

www.kidsvotingusa.org
A non-profit organization, Kids Voting USA seeks to promote participation of youngsters in the electoral process. The site has pages dedicated to voter education, links for social studies teachers and ideas on how to engage children in the political process.

www.rockthevote.org
Site of nonprofit organization founded by members of the recording industry, geared toward the younger voter. Links include youth activist organizations and magazine-like coverage of issues. The site features bulletin boards to air one 's views.

Books

Elections
Janet Majure (San Diego: Lucent Books "Overview "series, 1996) History of the U. S. electoral process, relation and influence of media and big money financial backers and alternatives to the two-party system. For young adults.

Elections A to Z
John Moore (Washington, D. C. : Congressional Quarterly, Inc., 1999). Congressional Quarterly 's ready reference encyclopedia of American government. A good reference tool, particularly for teens and young voters.

Landslide: A Kid 's Guide to the U. S. Elections
Dan Gutman (New York: Aladdin Paperbacks, to be published June 2000) Describes what it takes to get elected to Congress and the White House. A little history, some fascinating facts and modern election campaign practices. For ages 12+.

Presidential Elections and Other Cool Facts
Syl Sobel (Hauppauge, NY: Barrons Juveniles, 2000) Presidential trivia and basic facts on the electoral process as spelled out in the Constitution, including the rules and practices related to campaigning. For grades 4-7.

Teen Power Politics: Make Yourself Heard
Sarah Jane Boyers (Brookfield, CT: Millbrook Press, 2000) An in-your-face, issue-oriented book for teens on political and civic advocacy. Includes the history of voting, election information, media literacy issues and civic participation ideas to get teens more involved in democracy.

The Vote: Making Your Voice Heard
Linda Scher (Austin, TX: Raintree Steck-Vaughn, 1993) Written for children, the book explains who is eligible to vote, when and where voting takes place (local to national levels), why some citizens don 't exercise their voting rights and how to become a wise voter.

Voting Behavior
(San Diego: Greenhaven Press "At Issue "series, 1996) Examines the electoral process, its history and changes; includes discussion on the impact of media, third party candidates and voter turnouts. For young adults. Web Sites

"If information is the currency of democracy, then libraries are its banks." —Senator Wendell H. Ford