Project Vote Smart is one of my favorite sites. It tracks the votes of every member of Congress in an easily searched, easily read format. I found this upsetting bit of information there tonight:
Over 100 national political leaders and news organizations now test candidates' willingness to provide voters with essential issue positions. Afraid of opponents and hoping to manage you with manipulative messages, half of all candidates refuse this basic voter's right.
So far the site has info as to whether candidates from Pennsylvania, Iowa and New Mexico have filled out Vote Smart's National Political Awareness Test. The questions are very straight-forward. The only problem - and it's a big one - is that there isn't a set of questions about voting rights on any of the surveys.
Here's a section from Chaka Fattah's (PA-2) questionnaire:
Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding immigration. a) Decrease the number of legal immigrants allowed into the country. b) Establish English as the official national language. c) Support a temporary worker program that would enable illegal immigrants to work in the United States legally. X d) Relax restrictions barring legal immigrants from using government funded social programs (e.g. public housing, food stamps). e) Support amnesty for illegal immigrants already working in the United States. f) Other or expanded principles I am in support of creating a path citizenship.
So who in PA has filled a questionnaires out and who hasn't? Gov. Rendell has. Chris Carney, Lois Herr and Jack Murtha have. Bob Casey, Man on Dog, Mike Fitzpatrick, Patrick Murphy, Lois Murphy, Jim Gerlach, Joe Sestak and Curt Weldon have not.
On the state level, Paul Lang (running for State Senate in the 6th) and Chris Serpico (running for State Senate in the 10th) have. Their opponents, Tommy Tomlinson and Chuck McIllehenny have not. In the Rep races, some of my favorite candidates have filled out the survey: Harris Martin, David Steil, Chris King, Larry Glick and Jason Trimble. None of their opponents has except for Harris'.
Project Vote Smart is right. Their survey is a good snapshot of a candidate's position on important issues. I wonder why anyone would not want to take advantage of that opportunity.