With Illinois' upcoming primary on March 15, state voters have a new tool to help them become better informed on local and national candidates.
The new Voter's Edge Illinois website hosts candidate profiles, ballot measure summaries and even information on who is funding the campaigns.
Daniel Newman is co-founder of MapLight, which helped bring the Voter's Edge project to Illinois. He says many times voters face a void of information, and this is one way to help fill that gap.
"When it comes to local elections especially, it's not even clear who's running," he points out. "Voter's Edge Illinois brings all the information together into one place about who's running and who's on your ballot."
To use the site, voters enter their address to find their polling place and to get a full list of who is running for federal, state and local offices. Voters also can fill out and print a sample ballot to bring to the polls.
Candidates also are able to upload information about themselves and their policy priorities. While much of the information available on the Voter's Edge site can also be found at the State Board of Elections, Newman says his nonpartisan group conducts original, neutral research to help voters make more informed decisions.
"So, it's a tool that's useful to everyone regardless of your political party, regardless of your opinion," he stresses. "It's really putting you the voter in charge. That's why we call it Voter's Edge."
Voter's Edge launched in California two years ago, and this year has expanded to both Illinois and New York.