Friday, October 17, 2008

ACA Publishes Voters' Guide

The ACA has completed its 2008 Voters' Guide project this week. The Voters' Guide is meant to provide information to voters in Texas from state and national candidates on issues that atheists care about. We posed 23 statements to 482 candidates and asked their level of agreement or disagreement with the statements. We got 50 responses, which is better than we expected.

Here are some related links:
  • Our press release on the guide (a good introduction). This was sent out Wednesday.
  • The main Web page (if you forward a link, use this one).
  • The questions (my favorite is #3 concerning conflict of interest).
  • The results (there are a handful of different formats).
Our press release has caused a little buzz already:
We would appreciate help in spreading the word about this resource--especially to people in Texas. The questions should be of interest to many people besides just atheists. Also, if people see additional links about the effort, I'd appreciate knowing about them.

If you have any feedback on the effort, that would be helpful, too, though it's too late to change most things. We will likely attempt this again in future elections.


  1. Doesn't this conflict with the ACA's non-profit status? Or is it okay because the guide isn't actually endorsing any candidates, but merely educating voters on where the candidates stand on various issues?

  2. I think it's a "yes" to your second question.

  3. Both candidates have voiced their belief in god, which makes them both EVIL EVIL MEN in the ACA's eyes!



    Please don't hurt me.

    p.s. please especially do not send Russell after me. For all I know he could play a warlock and warlocks are overpowered.

  4. -C:

    Actually, it's his teapot you should be worried about.

  5. OH NOES


  6. This is a really great idea. Kudos to the ACA for undertaking a project like this.

    I do see one problem, though. This is exactly the kind of good idea that churches love to steal. If this is legal for the non-profit ACA to do, then it's legal for a church to do. Not that there's a problem with that- if they keep it unbiased and inclusive.

    But how easy is it to imagine this questionnaire going out to a ton of theocracy-friendly candidates and only a token few secular supporting candidates? Congregations would then have a nice little endorsement of "God-friendly" candidates. All as legal as you please.

  7. Renacier,

    The churches are light years ahead of us in the voters' guide business. Perhaps the main difference that we're trying to be squeaky clean about it and not endorsing anyone--just providing information.

    I support the right of any organization, religious or not, to do the same kind of thing we are. I don't think the media is doing a very good job of helping voters to make good decisions.

    Ironically, one of the things I agonized about was whether our voters' guide would allow church-state supporting candidates to be shot down by the majority opposition because they responded to our survey. By the same token, we could use a church-produced voters' guide to see who we liked.

    In the end, more information is better and the candidates can decide whether they would like to participate or not.

    Thanks for your feedback.

  8. I was going to say that the next step would be a meta-voter guide: a site that collects all the different voter guides put out by various organizations, so that you can easily see how a candidate scores on the issues that matter to the ACA, the NRA, NARAL, the Sierra Club, and so on.

    Then I realized I was thinking of Project Vote Smart.


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