Cheat Sheet: Election Websites
The best places on the Web to learn more about this year's election



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Thursday, Oct. 14, 2004
The Web has played a pivotal role in the 2004 presidential election, as both campaigns pound the blogosphere with their messages. To help you surf more productively, we've compiled a cheatsheet of the most playful, entertaining—and even useful—campaign websites. And we'll update it as the election nears, so send us your picks for consideration.

INFORMATION SITES
Project Vote Smart: Need to know the voting record of your incumbent senator, representative or state legislator? How about biographical information, campaign finance totals, issue positions and public statements? And if you don't know your elected officials, simply input your zip code and find them out in just a few clicks. Spend time at this site and you'll leave as a seriously informed voter.

Also good: FactCheck.org, the site Dick Cheney was referring to when he cited "Factcheck.com" during the Vice-Presidential debate, is excellent at debunking false claims and myths promoted by both sides in the election. Electoral-Vote.com offers an electoral college vote predictor based on the latest polling data, offered in spreadsheet and web format, plus state and national graphs and charts on finances, polls and voting. The Commission on Presidential Debates has transcripts and presidential debate information dating from 1858 to the present election. And going straight to the source for election data is easy at the FEC's website, www.fec.gov.


BLOGS
Watchblog.com: This site could actually be thought of as three blogs in one, but the balance of viewpoints presented in one spot makes for an interesting trichotomy of political opinion. Bloggers for the Democrats, Republicans and independent voters all work on the same site, posting their take on the news and the latest happenings in the political and policy worlds.

No election blog list would be complete without heavy-hitters like Drudge Report, Andrew Sullivan, Daily Kos and Wonkette. Little Green Footballs is one of the most notable conservative blogs. RealClearPolitics.com scores points for its in-depth, right-leaning commentary section, and its comprehensive list of the day's major op-eds is extremely convenient and useful. Eschaton, at atrios.blogspot.com, is one of the most well-read Democratic bloggers. Lefty cartoonist Tom Tomorrow's blog is an entertaining read, and Republicans will enjoy the political content at redstate.org and Powerline, run by three conservative commentators. When you want to get straight to the source and see the top links being bandied around among the blogs, check out blogdex.net, the MIT Media Laboratory's blog tracking website.


HUMOR SITES
JibJab.com: JibJab's popular spoof of Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land", featuring cartoon versions of Bush and Kerry, lampoons the polarized electorate in a way that easily makes it this year's most popular political humor site. Even Bush lovers have to admire Will Ferrell's goofy, horse-fearing satire of the President at whitehousewest.com, benefiting the liberal advocacy group Americans Coming Together. With some help from Marvin Gaye's classic "Let's Get It On", noedesign.com shows Kerry and Edwards in several very affectionate moments. Those looking for more interactive entertainment can try the Kerry Flip-Flop Olympics at georgewbush.com/olympics, the Bush Shoot-Out at miniclip.com, or defeat the forces of compassionate conservatism as Hulk Hogan, Mr. T and Howard Dean at emogame.com/bushgame.html. Photoshop fun lampooning the election is available at sites like youforgotpoland.com, fark.com and somethingawful.com/photoshop/.


INTERACTIVES
New York Times Election Guide: This Flash graphic has it all: the swing states, the money involved, the congressional and state races and the perception of both Bush and Kerry over time. Despite this near overload of electoral information, the graphic is easy to follow and well-organized.

Visual Ideology attempts to raise awareness of the use of political advertising through a very cool series of Flash images, plus a breakdown at the end showing which images were chosen by members of each political party. The Washington Post's candidate comparison graphic has one of the most detailed listings of each candidate's stand on the issues. CNN tracks the money raised and spent by each candidate at its election site.


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