With the rise of the Internet and Web 2.0 technologies, it is easier for people to engage in societal movements and to quickly see how their participation can make a difference. The current primary election and the national elections in November offer important opportunities for citizens to get involved in the political process. However the flood of political information available on the Web also can make it more difficult to identify quality sites with unbiased information and analysis.
We have compiled a list of sources dealing with many aspects of civic engagement and hope you enjoy visiting the sites we have chosen.
New resources that will be added to the ipl2 are noted NEW! All other resources are already listed in the ipl2 collection.
The Dates of the Primary Season
Each of the states sets the date for its state-wide primary elections. The rules for these elections and the criteria for establishing candidacy are largely determined by state and local governments. As long as the states comply with federal voting rights laws, state governments and their local party officials have broad flexibility in the management of these primary elections and caucuses. In 2012, the primary season runs from Jan. 3 (the date of the Iowa caucus) to June 26 (the date of the Utah primary). For a schedule of the primary elections and caucuses, visit:
*NEW* 2012 Election Central
This site is a blog dedicated to the 2012 national election and includes information on the Republican and Democratic primaries, debates, and general election news.
The Republican and Democratic Conventions
After all of the primaries are completed, the major parties gather in a convention to formally nominate their candidates and to establish their party platform. When the primary system was created in the 19th century and well into the 20th century, no one knew for sure which candidate would gain the party’s nomination until the convention was completed. In recent times, however, the nominees have been clearly established well before the convention and the conventions have served as opportunities for the parties to present their nominees to the American people. For an introduction to the Republican and Democratic conventions, visit:
*NEW* 2012 GOP Convention
Official site of the Republican National Convention (Tampa Bay, FL, August 27-31, 2012).
*NEW* 2012 Democratic National Convention
Official site of the Democratic National Convention (Charlotte, NC, Sept. 3-7, 2012).
Alternative Political Parties & Conventions
Although the Democratic and Republican parties are clearly the largest political parties in the United States—so much so that most people identify the US as having a “two party system”—there are many less well known political parties in the United States. Each of these parties also sponsors a national convention of its own. The largest of these “third party alternatives” are the Constitution party, the Green party, and the Libertarian party.
*NEW* 2012 Libertarian Party Convention
Official site of the Libertarian Party Convention (Las Vegas, NV, May 2-6, 2012).
*NEW* 2012 Green Party Convention
Official site of the Green Party Convention (Baltimore, MD, July 12-15, 2012).
*NEW* Constitution Party Convention
Official site of the Constitution Party (Nashville, TN, April 18-21, 2012).
*NEW* Reuters Issues 2012
This is a very simple, easy to use resource on the most popular issues of 2012. This is a good starting point to learn basic information about the various issues and the candidates’ positions on the issues that matter to you.
FAIR stands for Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting and has been dedicated to “offering well-documented criticism of media bias and censorship since 1986.” The organization works with both activists and journalists to provide insight into the media industry and the biases that come along with it. This is one of the few sites dedicated to media bias that does not lean right or left politically.
The ipl2 page on Election and Voting Resource is an extremely comprehensive guide to finding the best political information on the Web. The information is broken down into useful categories. The site provides information on federal, local, and state elections, on political parties, candidates, and issues, on voter information, as well as blogs and historical information. Rather than focusing on any particular election, the resources in the section provide general information about the full range of political processes and about the current political climate.
NOTE: Although this collection lists 2010 election resources, there are also many other resources that are relevant to current and upcoming election information.
Sponsored by the Center for Philanthropy and Community Service at the University of Texas at Austin, this site provides detailed, quality information on all aspects of both leading initiatives and volunteering for them. Information on the site includes how to engage the community and advice on advocacy and activism for online volunteers.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation is an established organization that has been fighting for various issues since 1990. The site has a “Take Action” page that provides a list of current issues complete with links through which people can choose to participate. There is also a blog and a page dedicated to showcasing the work the organization has been involved with over the years.
TakingITGlobal is an “online community that facilitates global education, social entrepreneurship, and civic engagement for millions of youth worldwide.” It is a social network like Facebook or MySpace but with a focus on global citizenship. Members from over 250 countries and almost 3,000 schools interact through this site, which provides links and resources for students and educators looking to be more involved through virtual classrooms and social interactions.
*NEW* Center for Communication & Civic Engagement
The Center for Communication and Civic Engagement is “dedicated to understanding communication processes and media technologies that facilitate positive citizen involvement in politics and social life.” The site is a collaboration of faculty and students at the University of Washington. It contains original research, new educational programs, policy recommendations and a comprehensive list of web-based resources for citizens.
The mission of AmericaSpeaks is to “reinvigorate American Democracy by engaging citizens in the public decision-making that most impacts their lives.” Among other projects, AmericaSpeaks was behind the redevelopment of the World Trade Center site and the rebuilding of post-Katrina New Orleans. The site offers links to topics that are discussed during their 21st Century Town Meetings and ways to get involved.