See all "FAQs".
Here are answers to some Frequently Asked Questions by candidates. (To return to this list, use your Browser's "back" button.)
Benefits of Smart Voter
- I already have a Web site. Please link to it from Smart Voter.
- What is Smart Voter? Will it help me in my candidacy?
- I already have a Web site. Why should I take the time to fill in the Smart Voter form?
- What do voters say about candidates who do not create a Smart Voter page?
Creating your Smart Voter Web pages
- When can I create my Web page on Smart Voter?
- How do I create my Smart Voter Web page?
- I tried to get to your Smart Voter form to enter my candidate data but my search program didn't find it.
- Your system said it sent me an email message, but I didn't get it. What happened?
- What information may I enter on my Web page?
- I used your web site in a previous election and would like to start with that data and edit it for this election. May I do that?
- May I include information about endorsements from news sources?
- May I enter as much as I'd like?
- What are the limits?
- May I write about my campaign and candidacy in a language other than English?
- After I create my page, how long will it take before it is available to the public?
- Will the volunteer who approves my page(s) ever make any changes?
- How do I get my photo to you to publish on my Smart Voter page?
- I sent you a photo -- how long before I should see it published?
- I'd like to change some information on my page. Can I do that?
- What is your archival policy and can I make changes after the election?
- I forgot my password. What do I do?
- How secure is my candidate information? Can someone else get my password and change my data?
- In what order do you list the candidates for a race?
- What is a Campaign Calendar and how do I create or update it?
- I'm a write-in candidate -- when can I create my Smart Voter page?
Using your Smart Voter pages
- What is the URL for my page? I want to tell others about it or link from my website.
- How long will my candidate pages be available on your Web site? May I change them after the election?
- I won my primary election or am in a run-off election. What will happen?
Benefits of Smart Voter
I already have a Web site. Please link to it from Smart Voter.
Smart Voter offers you the opportunity to create a straightforward Web page. We have minimal requirements making it very easy for you to complete in a short amount of time. You need only enter one way for voters to contact you, two biographical items, and three top priorities you want to achieve if you are elected. When you enter this information, you may also enter a link to your Web site.
What is Smart Voter? Will it help me in my candidacy?Are you running for your local School Board or Sanitation District? Where will voters find out about your candidacy? Smart Voter may be the only ready means voters have to find substantive information about you. If you are running for a race that gets more newspaper coverage, Smart Voter is a means to get the information about you directly to the voters.
Smart Voter has received glowing feedback from voters who have used our site in previous elections. They find that they like getting a list of their complete ballot choices, anytime they want to see it. By "drilling down", they can find information on candidates and ballot measures organized in an efficient manner.
A very large percentage of our users visit on Monday before Election Day and on that Tuesday. They don't have time to wade through information that does not help them decide for whom to vote. That's one reason they appreciate our Web site.
By filling out our simple web forms, you will raise your visibility in the community. And Smart Voter costs you only a little time -- not money.
I already have a Web site. Why should I take the time to fill in the Smart Voter form?Why not have both? We make it easy for you to link from your Smart Voter web page to your campaign Web site. And, if you already have position papers on your Web site, for example, you may link directly to them from Smart Voter without having to re-enter them.
We encourage you to link to your Smart Voter web page from your Web site.
Voters often tell us they would not vote for a candidate who did not respond to Smart Voter.
What do voters say about candidates who do not create a Smart Voter page?
Here is just a sample of real, unsolicited comments received from some of our users (bolding done for emphasis).
I'd like to echo the comment featured on the site "one of the best uses of the internet". I hope you continue to get statements from more candidates, as the years go by. My voting will show a strong prejudice against candidates who do not supply information to your site. --Santa Clara County
Thank you so VERY much for your website. ... I wasn't going to vote this year but because of this site... I will. --Stark County, Ohio
...I am bewildered that so many electoral candidates declined to supply your web site with information to supplement the information that you obtained from local elections officers. Am I correct in assuming that there is *no* charge to candidates for supplying additional information to your web site? If you are indeed offering a freebie to all electoral candidates, they sure are passing up some mighty fine free publicity, if they do not participate... --Sacramento County
Awesome web site... You can let candidates know that at least one voter won't vote for candidates who are too lazy to provide you info for voters to read. --San Diego County
I love the Smart Voter web site... The one comment I have is that next election we need to get the local county candidates to participate more fully and submit information. --San Diego County
...I have to admit, those candidates who did not submit information are a notch down in my estimation. --Los Angeles County
Thank you for providing this site for neutral information that a voter like me can get to it at my time schedule. I just wish all the candidates would take the advantage of this site. I tend not to vote for the candidates not listed here. --Sacramento County
Creating your Smart Voter Web pages
When can I create my Web page on Smart Voter?
Normally about a week or two after the state or local elections office prepares the official list of certified candidates. We get the list, prepare our system, then send out invitations to all candidates with instructions on how to create your pages. The only exception to this order is for run-off elections. Also see our process for handling write-in candidates.
How do I create my Smart Voter Web page?
If you are a candidate running for an office in one of the counties fully participating in our project, you are invited by letter or email to submit information about yourself and your candidacy.
The letter will be mailed to the address you specified when you filed about 2-3 weeks after the final filing date. This gives us time to get the official candidate list in electronic format from the elections offices so we can build Smart Voter for the election.
The letter you receive will be accompanied by a page of instructions telling you where to go on this website to fill out the form. For privacy reasons, we do not publish the name of the candidate form page here. If you believe you are eligible to submit information to Smart Voter but do not have your instruction sheet (and it is more than 3 weeks after extended filing close), please contact the Smart Voter coordinator. The best way to do this is:
- Go to our Search page
- In "Find A Candidate", enter your full name.
- The next page you will probably see is the one listing all people including yourself running for the office. Scroll down to almost the bottom of that page and click on "Feedback". Then send us a message.
It is possible that other candidates have the same name as you. If so, instead of seeing the page for the office you are seeking, you will see a list of names and offices. Click on yours, then look for the "Feedback" at the bottom.
I tried to get to your Smart Voter form to enter my candidate data but my search program didn't find it.
You cannot get to the candidate forms by using a search capability (Google, Yahoo, Alta Vista, etc.). You must enter the URL given to you directly into your browser in the field identified as "Location" or "Page" or "URL" or the like.
If you are using WebTV, the "Find" feature has the ability for you to select "http://".
Your system said it sent me an email message, but I didn't get it. What happened?
We sent the email, but it either:
- went to an email address other than the one you read. Check the email address in the area "How Can We Contact You".
- was considered to be spam and placed in your "spam" or "bulk" email folder. Please be sure that your email provider will accept email sent from "firstname.lastname@example.org".
What information may I enter on my Web page?
Every candidate, regardless of office sought, is asked to fill out the same form. We ask for:
- campaign contact information (required)
- biographical highlights (minimum of 2 required)
- top three priorities (required)
- endorsements (optional)
- political philosophy (optional)
- position papers (optional, maximum of three)
- photograph (optional)
Only information about you, the candidate, should be entered. Do not enter information referring to an opponent either positively or negatively. Do not make any false, slanderous, or libelous statements.
I used your web site in a previous election and would like to start with that data and edit it for this election. May I do that?
Yes. After you log into your candidate area, near the top of the form, you will see an invitation to start with an older Smart Voter page. Use your browser to find the existing page, then copy the page address or URL from the top of the browser window. Come back to the window with your candidate form and paste the URL into the area labeled "Candidates with Prior Smart Voter Pages or Multiple Offices".
All pages and the photo from the prior page will be copied into the area for this election with the exception of your top three endorsements and any additional endorsements page. We do not include that data for your convenience as we assume all endorsements need to be entered based on current lists. Then you may edit the other data as you wish for the current election. Note that your photo should not be more than two years old -- just send another.
May I include information about endorsements from news sources?
Because of possible copyright infringement issues, we ask that you not copy and reprint any published article directly onto your Smart Voter page. Attributed quotations are acceptable, of course. Or simply link to the article published elsewhere on the Web.
May I enter as much as I'd like?
Word limits apply and vary for each section. Limits only apply for those fields that are seen directly on your main Smart Voter page. With the limits, you can be assured that you are producing a page that can be quickly read by voters to pick out the major points of your philosophy, background, and priorities.
We allow virtually unlimited space on the extended sections. You may give a full biography, expound on your political philosophy, and list your endorsers. And you have the opportunity to enter three position papers, each of virtually unlimited content.
We urge you to utilize your free Smart Voter page in a way that serves both the surge of voters who come to our site on Election Day and the day before and those who want to read every word you write.
What are the limits?
For those boxes beginning with a bullet: 120 characters are generally permitted. If you attempt to enter more than 120 characters (about 2 lines) into the box on the form, you simply won't be able to type another character. Just back up in the form and edit.
Position Paper Summary: 200 characters are allowed for the short summary of each unlimited length position paper on a subject of your choice. If you enter more than this, you will be told, after you press the "go" button below this area, that you have exceeded the limit. Just press your browser's "back" button and edit the summary area.
May I write about my campaign and candidacy in a language other than English?
If you wish to post information in another language, we ask that you do so on your own campaign web site, not on your Smart Voter pages.
After I create my page, how long will it take before it is available to the public?In general, the page should be available overnight. Three things must happen before your page is made public:
- Your page is checked by one of our volunteers to see that the
required elements are present and that the rules above were followed. When OK, the Smart Voter system
is told that the page should be activated during the next automatic
cycle. This process could happen very quickly or take a few days.
In the midst of the heavy election season, the volunteers try
to check their queues at least once a day.
- The page must be generated by our automatic program. This runs
at least overnight, but during a heavy election season about four
times a day.
- If this is a new page and not an update to a public page, you must wait overnight for our programs to run to make your name "clickable" on linking pages. Until this last step, you may find your candidate page, but when you look at the page for your contest, your name may not be blue and underlined. Check the next day.
Will the volunteer who approves my page(s) ever make any changes?
No. In special circumstances, if you have authorized a League volunteer to enter your information, it will be entered as you submitted it to the League. We don't edit or correct spelling errors, for example.
How do I get my photo to you to publish on my Smart Voter page?
If your state League volunteers accept photos, we prefer that you send a photo image file attached to an email or we can try to take one from your web site. See "Candidate Photo" for detailed instructions for California, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, Pennsylvania, or Ohio.
I sent you a photo -- how long before I should see it published?If you mailed a "hardcopy" photo, estimate the number of days it should take the Post Office to mail to the address, then add about 2 or 3 days to cover the time to scan the photo, move it to the Smart Voter Web site, then wait for the next overnight automatic page regeneration to detect its presence.
If you emailed a message with the digital photo or instructions on how to find it online, it should take about 2 days.
I'd like to change some information on my page. Can I do that?
Yes, the data you enter for your page is your responsibility and may be changed at any time until 24 hours before the polls close on election day (eg. Monday, 8:00 pm).
What is your archival policy and can I make changes after the election?
You may not change your page(s) after 8pm of the evening before Election Day. After the election results are certified (which may be up to a month after Election Day), we will archive your pages. The archival process will remove the following personal contact information if present on your Smart Voter web pages: address, phone number, and email address. Also, we will add a small box in the upper left corner of each page with the message: "This is an archive of a past election. See http://www.smartvoter.org/st/cccc/ for current information."
The Smart Voter election archives offer the public a valuable history of past elections including the choices before the voters and the election results. However, Smart Voter may make limited changes to archived pages to address bona fide personal security or privacy issues. If you wish to request such a change to one of your archived pages, please send a feedback with a description of what you want changed and why, your name, and date of the election.
I forgot my password. What do I do?Go to the URL for candidates. After you enter your name and county and go to the next page, in the area where you are asked for your password, please check the box "I don't know the password, send it". We will send your password to the email address that we have on record. Please note the hints about what to do if you do not automatically receive the email message.
If you don't know the URL for candidates, please see "How do I create my Smart Voter page?".
How secure is my candidate information? Can someone else get my password and change my data?
Smart Voter protects your pages in several ways:
- We keep a log of all data entered along with a timestamp and what internet connection and software was used to access our system.
- If someone changes an email address and asks to have the password sent to the new address, the old email address is also copied on the message. If you get such an email and you don't recognize the new email address, please notify us immediately by sending us a feedback.
- Your web page is never released to the public until a trained League volunteer approves the changes. This volunteer also received the notice of changed email address so is alerted to check changes very carefully.
- At any time, you may send us a feedback and ask for your password to be changed if you feel that it was compromised.
In what order do you list the candidates for a race?
Rather than display a static list of candidates in either alphabetical or sample ballot order, Smart Voter randomly orders the candidates each time the page is regenerated. Pages are regenerated at least once a day.
If you don't see the order change, be sure to refresh your browser! Maybe your browser is simply redisplaying the copy of the page stored on your computer.
What is a Campaign Calendar and how do I create or update it?We offer a feature to easily create a calendar page to inform voters or campaign volunteers of your campaign events. This feature may not be available in all counties.
You can include any event you wish-- receptions, endorsement events, candidate forums, etc. See an example of a calendar.
Events are added by filling in forms with the date, location, and event title and description. Our service keeps events ordered and will provide automatic links to a map when complete addresses are used.
Let us know your opinion of the calendar by sending us a feedback.
Currently, this function is provided without charge.
To create a calendar, click on the "Create Calendar" button in the Contact Information section of your candidate preview page. To update that calendar, click on the calendar icon in the same section. It may be updated as often as you wish until 24 hours before the polls close. After an election, we will archive the calendar.
I'm a write-in candidate -- when can I create my Smart Voter page?
We are pleased to offer our services to write-in candidates after the candidates' elections offices have assured us that they have met the qualifications to be write-in candidates. (Note that this practice may vary from state to state.)
To be fair to all candidates, after the last date for write-ins to file, our League volunteers will check with the appropriate elections offices and get the list of those candidates who have qualified. The names of these candidates will be added to our roster, and if email addresses are available, the candidates will be contacted and invited to build their Smart Voter pages.
If a write-in candidate contacts us before that date and claims to be officially qualified, we will call the elections office and get the names of all candidates qualified as of that time. Those names will be added to our roster and contacted by email.
Using your Smart Voter pages
What is the URL for my page? I want to tell others about it or link from my website.Read your choices for a URL and considerations on its use. Some things to consider: Does any other candidate on Smart Voter have the same (last) name as you do? Do you want the URL to work even after the election is archived?
I won my primary election or am in a run-off election. What will happen?First, we will archive the recently past election -- after the results are officially finalized. Then we will copy the Smart Voter pages of all primary winners to an area on Smart Voter for the upcoming General election. Run-off candidates will also be copied if we are supporting that run-off election (ask your county's Smart Voter coordinator). We will notify all candidates that we are now open to receive any changes they may wish to make on their Smart Voter pages. If no changes are made, the version used in the general election will be the same as in the primary.