FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, October 1, 1996
CONTACT: Kim Alexander
FALL '96 ONLINE VOTER GUIDE DEBUTS ON THE 'NET
State takes the lead in online voter resources
Sacramento -- The California Voter Foundation today unveiled the California Online Voter Guide, a new web site designed to help voters make informed choices in the upcoming November 5th election. The voter guide was unveiled at a news conference at the Sacramento Public Library, and is available at:
"Voters now have a choice," said Kim Alexander, CVF's executive director. "They can either sit back and fall victim to manipulative mailers and ads, or they can go out on the Internet and get informed."
The California Online Voter Guide is designed to be a "one-stop shop" for California election resources, providing links to over 100 campaign-sponsored web sites and featuring information on the state's 15 ballot propositions, 52 congressional races, 100 legislative contests, the Presidential election and local races and measures.
The Fall '96 California Online Voter Guide is the eighth web site produced by CVF, a Sacramento-based, non-profit, non-partisan organization that promotes the use of new technologies to help shape an informed and engaged electorate. CVF's pioneering efforts in online voter education began in 1994, when the group published the first California Online Voter Guide. Thousands of people use CVF's online resources to find information on California elections, politics and government. Last spring, CVF published an online primary guide that was accessed over 10,000 times in the first three weeks it was up.
Howard Rheingold, noted author and Internet pioneer, praised CVF's efforts. "An informed electorate is the foundation for a healthy democracy," Rheingold said."Getting timely and relevant information to voters is one of the ways the Internet can help revitalize democratic institutions."
Dr. Kevin Starr, State Librarian of California agrees. "That is why the State Library is committed to ensuring that the public can access valuable voter information in the public libraries of our state. Thanks to the California Voter Foundation and its Online Voter Guide, the electorate of California can now inform itself via this powerful new medium," Starr said. Over 184 public libraries in the state offer Internet access to their patrons, ensuring that interested citizens can access online resources regardless of income. (A list of libraries with Internet access is available from CVF.)
CVF is not alone in offering online resources to California voters. Another election web site, which CVF helped design, also made its Internet debut today. Produced by Smart Valley Inc., along with seven project partners, the "Smart Voter" web site (http://www.smartvoter.org) features the first online database service that allows voters to identify their elective districts simply by entering their address and zip code. The California Secretary of State has also published the state Ballot Pamphlet online, (http://www.ss.ca.gov) and is expected to publish live election returns online as well.
"When it comes to innovative uses of online technology, California is leading the nation and the world," said CVF's Alexander. "The California Voter Foundation and many others are recognizing that we need to make it convenient for people to become informed and engaged, and that the Internet is the best tool for the job."
The California Online Voter Guide will continue to be built throughout the election season. More links, as well as the California Journal's district-by-district summaries will be added in the coming weeks. Additional public demonstrations of the web site are scheduled in San Francisco's Opera Plaza at 601 Van Ness Avenue on Wednesday, October 2 from 10 am - 12 p.m., and Thursday, October 3 from 6 - 8 pm.
The California Online Voter Guide is supported through generous grants from the Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation, Pacific Telesis, Apple Computer, Intel Corp., and the California Teachers Association
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