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Election resources to share

Information is the currency of democracy. Thomas Jefferson

Presidential elections present ultimate, authentic teachable moments, opportunities for us to exploring a variety of literacies with learners at all levels

I recently pulled together an Election LibGuide for our students and teachers and I thought I’d share some of the most popular inclusions.

On issues

C-SPAN’s Candidates on the Issues allows users to see each Presidential candidate address the big issues in selected video remarks. The collection of short videos covers the economy and jobs, taxes and deficit, national security, healthcare, immigration, and energy and the environment.’s 2012 Presidential Election is perhaps the most comprehensive portal for election issues research. It is my students’ favorite.

Its purpose is to provide unbiased critical thinking resources. Summary charts describe Candidate Positions on 61 IssuesI as well as Biden vs. Ryan on 30 Issues.

A Candidates Quiz, determines your best candidate match. Among the other features are:

Candidate Videos
Candidate Debate Transcripts
Candidate Speeches
Candidate Finances
Differences in Conservative and Liberal Brains

Project VoteSmart’s interactive VoteEasy feature allows you to connect your own opinion to the candidates’ positions on 13 major issues, from the White House lawn (and you can hear a barking dog in the background). From the summary page searchers can select to see further information on the candidate, access his or her speeches, or view the public record., a nonpartison, nonprofit project from the Annenberg Public Policy Center, seeks to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. We monitor the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players in the form of TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews and news releases. Its new parody sister site,, uses humor to debunk false political advertising, poke fun at extreme language, and hold the media accountable for their reporting on political campaigns.

Matchmaker, matchmaker

USA Today’s Candidate Match II allows users to compare their own views with the candidates on 14 critical issues, using agree and disagree buttons as well as a sliding scale.

The results from the 12-question Pew Research Center’s Political Party Quiz places the voter on a political spectrum. Results may be filterd for overall responses, economic or social issues. Results may also be compared to Pew survey data by party, age, sex, race, religion and candidate. offers a 24-question quiz divided into eight categories allowing users to select both a position and to scale the issue’s level of personal importance.

ElectNext requires a Facebook, Twitter, or email login and promises to present users with a unique and customized candidate guide, based on 10 questions relating to their own selected major issues. Social media comments and opinions are incorporated.

For older students, MTV’s Fantasy Election 2012, designed to resemble a fantasy sports experience, allows players to draft a dream team of candidates and receive points for accountability in areas like transparency and honesty.

Visualizing the election

The New York Times interactive Electoral Map assesses how states may vote, based on polling, previous election results and state political geography and allows users to develop their own voting scenarios.

Huffington Post’s Election Dashboard map shares a current snapshot of the presidential race based on hundreds of state-wide and national opinion polls.

270toWin and 270toWin iPad App offer an interactive map and a pulldown menu on which users may explore electoral college results from 2012 back to 1789.

Also check out the similarly interactive Rand McNally Play the Election, where users may play a variety of speculative games and Electoral College voting can be tracked back to 1960.

The new Twitter Political Index is an index that measures tweeters’ feelings about the candidates relative to the more than 400 million tweets shared each day.

Among the many instructional tools for studying the election are:

Frank Baker shares his instructional media literacy talents with these materials:

And that wonderful Internet Archive resources I blogged about last week, TV News Search and Borrow, offers instant access to breaking and archival video about the candidates and the election.

Thanks to my new student intern, Brandon Richardson, for his help in getting this resource list started!

Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza

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