Project Vote Smart Update


Too many Minnesota candidates don’t respond to national bipartisan survey.

“Over 100 news organizations throughout the nation also urged their candidates to supply their issue positions through the National Political Awareness Test.” — Project Vote Smart

Project Vote Smart has been on a 10-year mission to tell voters the truth about politicians — not about writing about them but by allowing the politicians’ words, actions and deeds to be made available to the public.

Project Vote Smart has done this by offering the following information about candidates:
Issue Positions (NPAT)
Campaign Finances
Interest Group Ratings
Voting Record
Speeches and Public Statements

The NPAT, short for National Political Awareness Test, is a survey about the issues that Project Vote Smart sends to all candidates for presidential, congressional, gubernatorial, and state legislative offices. Candidates may or not respond, but there are some key rules.

Candidates need not answer every question, but must answer at least 70% of them to have their questionnaires included in the online database.

More importantly, answers given on the NPAT may not be used by other candidates for negative advertising. Fortunately, this is adhered to by 99.95% of all candidates.
(NOTE: Project Vote Smart has publicly condemned Minnesota Rep. Gil Gutknecht for breaking this rule.)

NPAT scores for all 50 states are currently indexed on the Project Vote Smart website. The NPATs for Minnesota’s candidates are available here.

Minnesota candidates for Congress and governor who have chosen NOT to return the Project Vote Smart surveys are:

U.S. Senate: Kennedy (R), Klobuchar (D), Cavlan (G)
U.S. House: Gutknecht (R-1); Kline (R-2), Williams (I-2); McCollum (D-4), Ellison (D-5), Fine (R-5); Bachmann (R-6), Wetterling (D-6); Peterson (D-7)
Governor: Hatch (D), Hutchinson (I), Pawlenty (R), Brown (QRT)

Candidates receive stacks of surveys from various interest groups, many with a limited or single-issue focus, and it’s understandable why they would not want to answer them all. However, Project Vote Smart is a bipartisan, citizen’s organization whose only agenda is to provide voters, in their words, “with the necessary tools to self-govern effectively: abundant, accurate, unbiased and relevant information.”
It is unfortunate, therefore, that some of Minnesota’s key candidates have chosen not to participate.