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About Vote Smart

Vote Smart provides free, factual, unbiased information on candidates and elected officials to all Americans.

Our story

Every day we are bombarded by too much information. Much of it, we would be right to distrust. Misinformation and deception are never far from the headlines. A few decades ago, Americans struggled to have access to information on politics. Today, we struggle with too much and little of it is trusted.

Picture this: a source of trusted information, unbiased and nonpartisan, free to every American every day of every year. Picture this gift being given by ordinary people funding ordinary citizens working to collect, test, verify and share the most valuable facts needed to be a full participant in our democracy.

This is what we do at Vote Smart.

Started over 30 years ago by Presidents Ford and Carter and other political leaders, Republicans, Democrats and independents alike, each leader knew our democracy depends on Americans having the trusted, factual tools needed to resist deception, manipulation and division based on lies and emotional appeals. Our founding president, Richard Kimball, led this effort from the beginning and united leaders, politicians, educators and others to create this special tool for the American people. From Arizona to Oregon to Massachusetts to Montana to Iowa, Vote Smart has done this work longer than any other unbiased project funded by ordinary citizens. When you are ready, head over to see all our voter tools for you to use.

  • How did an elected official vote? We have those facts.
  • How did they fund their campaign? We can tell you where they got their money.
  • What is their previous experience to run for office? We’ve got their full resume.
  • Who is endorsing them that you may know? We collect thousands of endorsements by groups across the political spectrum.
  • Where do I vote now that I’m ready? We have all the information needed to vote in all 50 states.
We make history every day.

Unlike other groups, Vote Smart is completely unbiased. No endorsements. No political advocacy or lobbying for a cause. Our sole mission is to provide free, factual, unbiased information to Americans every day of every year. Our pledge to you is that we check our politics at the door every day we come into work. We couldn’t ask for your trust any other way.

We come from every corner of America.

Liberals, conservatives, Republicans and Democrats–everyone leaves a mark at Vote Smart as they fuel our voter education programs. Most of us are very young, working our first job out of college, our first job in politics. None of us will retire from Vote Smart as rich people. We serve and take modest compensation for our hard work. Some of us have political science degrees. Some of us code and develop computer systems behind the scenes. Some of us accept the small donations that fuel our programs.

We share our work for free because we are funded by your neighbors.

97% of our support comes from Americans mailing in a check of $250 or less. Nearly 80 cents of every dollar of those donations goes directly to our programs. Not only are our facts trusted, you can trust us with your support. Five stars from Great NonProfits, Platinum Award from Candid and Guidestar, with more awards coming each year – don’t just take our word for it!

Millions of your neighbors use our tools every year and we know you will see how they will power your vote too. Free yourself from doubt. Free yourself from disinformation. Be the American we need in our democracy today. Help us if you can, but use us whenever you need us. We will be here for you–for every American thanks to the sacrifice of some special Americans.

P.S. If you’re ever interested in learning more about us, you can reach out to us by email at communications@votesmart.org. You can also call us at 888-Vote-Smart. We are here to help you!


An Extraordinary Organization Has Some Extraordinary Rules

Nonpartisan

We have been nonpartisan from the start. Our founders joined our board only when a political opposite joined with them. So, President Ford and Carter joined together. Senators George McGovern and Barry Goldwater joined together, as did John McCain and Geraldine Ferraro. Our commitment to nonpartisanship continues today in everything we do and we are grateful this legacy distinguishes us from so many other voter education organizations.

Privacy

Unlike other organizations, Vote Smart strictly protects its members and supporters. We never sell or provide names, addresses, or other contact information of any supporter or contributor to anyone, at any time, for any reason.

Funding

Vote Smart refuses financial assistance from all organizations and special interest groups that lobby or support or oppose any candidate or issue.

People

Vote Smart operates much like the Peace Corps -- of the over 10,000 people who have come to help by working at Vote Smart, ninety percent received no pay and those who did received only minimal salaries to cover basic living expenses.


2022 990 Form

2021 990 Form

2020 990 Form

2020 Independent Audit


Vote Smart provides free, factual, unbiased information on
candidates and elected officials to all Americans.

Vote Smart
1153 24th Street
Des Moines, IA 50311

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