Smart Voter November 3, 1998 General Election

About Smart Voter

  • Smart Voter ( is produced by the League of Women Voters of California to:
    • Provide voters with comprehensive nonpartisan information about the contests on their ballot in an easy-to-use presentation.

    • Provide a means for candidates to publish information about themselves and their candidacy directly to voters.

    Smart Voter, first produced for the November 1996 election, covering Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties in California, was the first Web site to offer personalized election information based on a voter's address. Voters in three elections have praised the site. Read what users said about us for the November 1998 election.

    Designed to help voters understand their choices better including local contests, Smart Voter offers extensive background information on candidates in participating counties as well as information on state and local ballot measures.


    The Smart Voter site allows users to find their custom ballot and polling place by entering their street address and zip code. Users may access "home pages" of each participating candidate that include their biography, endorsements, top priorities if elected, and position papers. All candidates in the participating counties are invited to participate. Each page about a contest includes links to relevant news or analysis articles written by online local media organizations or other nonpartisan information.


    The underlying information required to generate personalized ballots based on a voter's address was gathered from the Election Officials or Registrars of Voters in each of the participating counties. The Registrars of Voters and the Secretaries of State also provided the official data about races and measures.

    All candidates in the participating counties were invited by letter to provide data for their free web pages. All information about candidates was gathered from the candidates themselves either by entering the data on a web form or by filling out a hard copy form and mailing it to us.


    We invite you to link to us offering our voter information service directly to your users.


    The League of Women Voters of California Education Fund and its Smart Voter Project partners are not responsible for errors or omissions.

    Sample Ballot and Polling Place Location

    The League of Women Voters is not responsible for the accuracy of the sample ballot and polling place location. The information used to generate these pages has been given to us by the county election official, and, for statewide contests, by the Secretary of State's office. The election official of your county remains the sole authoritative source for information regarding the content of ballot and polling place location. If you believe the polling place or ballot data is not accurate, please report the problem.

    Candidate Data

    All candidate data has been provided by the candidates and neither the League of Women Voters Education Fund nor any of its partners in the Project take any responsibility for the form, content, accuracy or truthfulness of the information provided, which, as common carriers with respect to this data, we do not undertake to monitor or edit words in any respect. The views expressed in the candidates' data do not necessarily reflect any of the views or preferences, if any, of the League of Women Voters Education Fund or its partners. Neither the League of Women Voters Education Fund nor any of its partners take any position nor express any preference respecting the issues or candidates displayed on this site.

    Links to Outside Sources

    The links in Smart Voter pages are provided as a service to allow users an easy means to find related information. We rely on volunteers, users, and candidates to identify these links, and Smart Voter team members cannot review the content of these links, and do not endorse any particular links or their content.

    The League of Women Voters Education Fund does not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, efficacy, timeliness, or correct sequencing of information located on sites linked to by Smart Voter pages. Use of any information obtained from such sites is voluntary, and reliance on it should only be undertaken after an independent review of its accuracy, completeness, efficacy, and timeliness.


    The Smart Voter system will not use street addresses for any purpose other than retrieving a customized ballot. The addresses will not be disclosed nor used in any analysis or report.

    How Your Address is Used by Smart Voter

    Smart Voter uses your street address and zip code in order to find your ballot and polling location. Election officials divide a county into precincts where each precinct may have a unique combination of districts and political boundaries. Polling locations are also assigned by precinct.

    Your address is used to determine the precinct, which, in turn, determines polling location and ballot type. Election officials have furnished the Smart Voter system with the street address ranges for precincts, and the corresponding polling place and ballot information. We do not currently have the ability to hold individual addresses or to check voter registration status.

    We use your street address and zip code only to build your ballot. We do not save your street address or zip code anywhere.

    If you believe that your street address and zip code should have produced a ballot, you can report this problem. We must have your street address and zip code to be able to determine if a problem exists and how to fix it. We do not use this information for any other purpose.

    How your email address is used by Smart Voter

    We use email addresses to allow a Smart Voter project team member to respond to your feedback. We will not include your email address in the public WWW site or disclose your address to anyone except project team members. We do not correlate email addresses from feedback messages with street addresses unless you explicitly include your street address in the message.


    Smart Voter is the result of a unique collaboration between government, nonprofit organizations, and the media. The Smart Voter Project Team, led by the League of Women Voters, coordinated the project based on technology and procedures originally developed by Smart Valley, Inc for the November 1996 election in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties in California..

    In 1997, the League of Women Voters of California obtained the rights from Smart Valley to use their design for supporting upcoming elections. A steering committee of League members designed the project, hired a project manager and programmer, and coordinated the volunteer effort to gather information from candidates. They also worked with project partners to publicize and add content to the site supporting both the November 1997 and June 1998 elections.

    By the June 1998 elections, 6 counties in California were supported: Humboldt, Kern, Marin, Orange, San Mateo, and Santa Clara Counties. Polling location data was provided for El Dorado County and statewide information for all counties. A software system was developed to enable forms to be used to input data into the website and to generate most of the pages based on template definitions.


    The League has two separate and distinct roles.

    The League of Women Voters of California Education Fund which conducts our voters service and citizen education activities and sponsors Smart Voter is a 501(c)(3) corporation, a nonprofit educational organization. Donations made to this organization are tax deductible by law.

    The League of Women Voters of California, a membership organization, conducts action and advocacy and is a nonprofit 501(c)(4) corporation. This organization does not fund or in any way contribute to Smart Voter.

    The League of Women Voters of California Education Fund:

    • Builds citizen participation in the democratic process.
    • Studies key community issues at all government levels in an unbiased manner.
    • Enables people to seek positive solutions to public policy issues through education and conflict management.

    The League neither supports nor opposes candidates or political parties.

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    Smart VoterTM   Copyright © 1998 League of Women Voters of California Education Fund.
    The League of Women Voters neither supports nor opposes candidates for public office or political parties.