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National Civic and Community Organizations

The following organizations are among many local and national groups involved in effective efforts regarding the election and democracy. After perusing the list don't stop here. Check into community groups in your area and research other national organizations that have campaigns applicable for your students and school. balloon

American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (AEI)
1150 17th Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036
(202) 862-5800
Independent and nonpartisan, the scholars at AEI share a common interest in preserving a free society of private enterprise and free markets. Since 1943, AEI has conducted research on American politics, economy and government policy--all with an eye on workable solutions for our nation's problems. The AEI Press offers an interesting selection of books on foreign policy, trade, the electoral process and more.

Center for National Independence in Politics
Project Vote Smart (PVS)
129 N.W. 4th Street, #204
Corvallis, OR 97330
(541) 754-2746
Project Vote Smart, a nonpartisan and nonprofit program, offers unbiased information for the citizen striving to make an educated decision come election time. The program offers a Voter's Research Hotline at (800) 622-SMART. By calling the hotline, you can receive a free Voter's Self Defense Manual, which includes information on how to contact your U.S. representative and senator as well as factual data on where your legislators receive their funding and on their voting record. (A note to interested teachers: The manual is only distributed one per teacher. However, teachers who would like to use the manual in their classrooms have permission to photocopy.)

Center for Policy Alternatives
1875 Connecticut Avenue, N.W.
Suite 710
Washington, D.C. 20009
(202) 387-6030
For 20 years, the Center for Policy Alternatives, a nonprofit organization, has promoted and fostered progressive policy-making and leadership. The Center's goal to support communities is manifested through several campaigns and projects. One such campaign is the Women's Voices for the Economy, where women's concerns regarding their financial needs are compiled into a feasible economic agenda and presented to state policymakers.

Close Up Foundation
44 Canal Center Plaza
Alexandria, VA 22314 -1592
(703) 706-3679
This nonprofit nonpartisan organization teaches responsible participation in the democratic process through federal, state and local government studies programs. Middle and high school students accompanied by their teachers come to Washington, D.C., for one of the Foundation's many Close Up Programs, to learn about their government and be ready when the time comes to take on their responsibilities as voters. In addition, the Foundation publishes books, videotapes and other teacher materials on government processes and foreign and domestic policy issues.

Federal Election Commission
999 E. St. N.W.
Room 833
Washington, D.C. 20463
(202) 219-3440 or 4140
The Federal Elections Commission provides research results from polls and statistics on recent elections to the public.

Kids Voting USA
398 South Mill Avenue
Suite 304
Tempe, AZ 85281
(602) 921 - 3727
Kids Voting USA is a nonprofit grassroots organization dedicated to educating America's youth about the importance of an informed electorate and about the responsibilities of voting to sustain democracy. Its mission is to promote voter participation and educate youth, kindergarten through 12th grade, through a Kids Voting USA Curriculum. The curriculum culminates in the students accompanying their parents to the polls and voting in their own parallel election on National Kids Voting Day. Since 1994, Kids Voting USA has doubled in size and now includes families in 40 states and the District of Columbia.

League of Women Voters
National Office
7130 M Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036
(202) 429-1965
The League of Women Voters has launched a comprehensive Election '96 Campaign that focuses on Reconnecting Citizens to issues, Registering Citizens to Vote and Getting Out the Vote. Striving to reach all segments of the community, the League's campaign offers an unprecedented menu of tools that students around the country can use to promote getting out the vote. The League also distributes education materials and videos targeted to high school students, such as their How to Judge a Candidate and How to Watch a Debate pamphlets.

National Student/Parent Mock Election
225 West Oro Valley Drive
Tucson, AZ 85737
(520) 742-9943
The National/Student Parent Mock Election is a 14-year-old program that brings together thousands of volunteers to help students and parents learn the science and practice the art of democracy. The Mock Election believes that young Americans will become enthusiastic citizens if they are allowed to learn by doing. In the 1992 Mock Election, more than 5 million students and parents participated. The upcoming 1996 Mock Election will be on October 30th with the results being broadcast live by CNN. In addition, election participants will vote in the TIME Mock Election Issues Forum; its results will be compiled into a list of "recommendations" for the newly elected president and legislature. To get involved, call (800) 230-3349, or contact your state coordinator. All Mock Election materials including the teacher's guide are free.

1655 Walnut Street
Suite 200
Boulder, Colorado 80302
(303) 444-1383
Votelink, which calls itself the "Voice of the Net," is an interactive news channel on the Internet. Votelink allows Internet users to exchange opinions and vote on timely issues and news events from local to global levels. Votelink's voting and conferencing technology provides a unique way to build community, an electronic democracy, on the web. Each site includes an overview (text/real audio), an online conference (choice of several kinds), voting and results pages (with votes tallied every ten minutes), and links to additional information and relevant web sites.



Click here to find web sites related to democracy, elections, voter registration and related issues. The following web sites are available:

The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS)

PBS has developed special web-based features and interactive activities to support The Democracy Project, a PBS initiative to draw Americans back into the democratic process.

A clickable map allows users to get preliminary voter registration information, such as deadlines and election commission phone numbers; many states will even allow users to download a registration form!

This site provides a look back at the tumultuous 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago with an interactive trivia quiz and a clickable timeline.

What decides "character," and why is it important above all else to our presidents and presidential candidates? Join historians, writers and political observers in tackling these and other issues of character on this unique web site.

Surfers on the "net" can download information and statistics about what citizens across the nation think about key political and social issues; users also have an opportunity to share their own views.

Who contributes to political campaigns? Why do they give? And most importantly, what do they get in return? Visit the Frontline site to find out who the players are; check out interviews with analysts and others; and see the money charts.

This site allows you to find out about activities and special events that can help youth in the classroom learn about civic education and the democratic process.

Visit some of the most informative political sites available online. Visit the Democratic and Republican National Committees. Enjoy a complete listing of presidential inaugural speeches from George Washington to Bill Clinton. Take a tour through the White House, the House of Representatives, or take a trip to historic Williamsburg.

All Things Political

C-Span teams up with Washington Weekly to offer political speeches, links to political groups and much, much more!

All Politics

Developed by CNN and Time Magazine, this site is categorized into various sections: News, Issues, Candidates, Analysis, Games, Polls and States. Under Issues, one can get a briefing on current topics and candidate stands on it. Look at Analysis for a transcript of a recent CNN interview or peek into the Time archives.

Daily Worldwide Election News

Visit this site and get daily updates on election returns from Liberia to Japan to anywhere on the planet. In addition, the web page offers a calendar of worldwide election dates and an international weather forecast.

ElectNet-The State Election Watch

Divided by state, ElectNet provides links to all U.S. senators, representatives and governors web sites as well as local groups and candidates. The site provides up-to-the-minute information on elections and polls.

The Jefferson Project

This web site offers a myriad of items for the curious "surfer." The site itself is a directory divided up into sections ranging from Issues to Political Humor to State Resources. Other options include VoxPop, where browsers can share their opinions; Netgram, where you can e-mail your state and U.S. representatives; and the Zipper, for those who have forgotten who represents them, but remember their zipcodes.

U.S. News Election '96

This site is a colorful way to read up on the current issues and 1996 campaign news.

National Voting Town Hall

Developed by America Vote Inc., this site allows registered users to vote in a referenda on pending federal legislation and to compare their opinions with other users. Once you have voted for or against an issue, you can look up the Index of Representation (IREP) of your elected officials. The IREP denotes how often ones representative has voted for the majority vote on a certain issue.


The following books, articles, and films may be of interest to you and your students. You may wish to duplicate the bibliography/videography and distribute it to your class.


Birnhaum, Jeffrey. The Lobbyists: How Influence Peddlers Get their Way in Washington. New York: Time Books, 1992.

Cohn, Mary W., ed. Congressional Campaign Finances: History, Facts and Controversy. Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly, 1992.

Gerzon, Mark. A House Divided: Six Belief Systems Struggling for America's Soul. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1996.

Hurwitz, Johanna. Class President. New York: Morrow Junior Books, 1990.

Jenker, Irene, ed. Women in Washington: Advocates for Public Policy. Beverly Hills: Sage Publications, 1983.

Peters, Charles. How Washington Really Works. Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley Publishing Co., 1983.

Ricci, David. The Transformation of American Politics: The New Washington and the Rise of Think Tanks. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993.

Smith, Hedrick. The Power Game. New York: Ballantine, 1988.

Sullivan, George. Campaigns and Elections. Morristown, NJ: Silver Burdett Press, 1991. balloon

Thurber, James A. and Candace J. Nelson, eds. Campaigns and Elections American Style. Boulder: Westview Press.

Voss, Frederick S. The Smithsonian Treasury: The Presidents. New York: Outlet Book Company, Inc., 1991.


Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Columbia Pictures, 1939.
The idealistic leader of a Boy Rangers Troop is sent to Washington, D.C., where his endeavors for a national boys camp run counter to the goals of a state politician. Starring Jimmy Stewart.

Animal Farm, DCA, 1955.
Imagine a place where the animals decided that they were now in charge. A satirical look at society, politics and human--rather than animal- nature. Based on the novel by George Orwell.

The Best Man, United Artists, 1964.
Five candidates await the chance to become their party's
presidential nominee. None of the nominees gets a majority vote, which leads to a great amount of reflection on who really wants the position.

The Candidate, Warner Brothers 1972.
A man runs an honest senatorial campaign and speaks his mind. Never did he imagine that he would succeed. Starring Robert Redford.

Ordering Information

Videocassettes of Vote for Me - Politics in America are available from CNAM Film Library. To order by phone call (800) 343-5540 or write to:

CNAM Film Library
22-D Hollywood Avenue
Hohokus, NJ 07423

Additional copies of this guide are available from:

Educational Outreach
P.O. Box 2626
Washington, D.C. 20013


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