For the first time, Project Votesmart, has tested Florida primary candidates with its National Political Awareness Test. It chose to do so this year, because many of the races will be decided next month.
Across the state, only 16 percent of Florida’s primary candidates for major races said they would take Project Vote Smart’s issues test. The non-partisan citizens organization serves as a national library of information about candidates and elected officials. That breaks down to 20 percent of gubernatorial candidates, 15 percent of state legislative candidates and 20 percent of congressional candidates. The organization’s Rachel Pagliocca says they don’t take a position on whether a candidate responds to the test, but their actions speak volumes.
“We’re just providing this as an indicator for citizens to find out which candidates are willing to answer important questions. But we do have other ways to find out where a candidate stands. We cover all different categories of information. So even if a candidate does not respond to this test we still have information for voters –we do all the work for them.”
Project Votesmart also provides biographical and campaign finance information, ratings from different interest groups, voting records and other public statements. The website is vote dash smart dot org.
All four major candidates for Florida Governor this fall have refused to take part in Project Votesmart’s annual National Political Awareness test. And only 15 percent of those running for the state legislature were willing to participate. The organization’s Rachel Pagliocca explains the test.
“This is a test of candidates willingness. And we ask them one question – are you willing to tell citizens your positions on the issues you’ll most likely face on their behalf. And then when a candidate says yes to this question we basically ask them to prove it by answering a few short questions about major issues that affect Florida voters.”
In 2004, Florida congressional candidates had a 43 percent response rate – 10 percent below the national average. This year – only 20 percent of congressional candidates were willing to take the test.
This was the first year Project Votesmart tested candidates in Florida’s primary election.
Monday, 07 August 2006 01:00
Project Votesmart Issues TestWritten by WGCU Newsroom