November 14, 2008

Ballotpedia – The Citizen Powered Encyclopedia to Direct Democracy


If the 2008 election proved anything, it’s that the internet is now and forever an integral part of elections. Nowhere is this more apparent than with the site Ballotpedia. As the name suggests, it’s a user-generated encyclopedia all about current ballot measures and elections. Simply put, it’s a Wikipedia for election-related information.

On Ballotpedia, users can select their state (or any state they want) and click on current amendments and propositions for that state. The site is non-partisan, so it doesn’t come down on one side or the other, but gives information both for and against ballot measures. What makes the encyclopedia especially useful is to surf around based on topic: so if you click on a marriage initiative in one state, you can then click a “marriage” link to find marriage-based initiatives in another state.

The site also has information on all state legislatures, voter fraud, small interim elections (like tax elections), petition drives, and other topics. Basically, if it’s related to an election: it’s here.

Practical Uses:

  • You live in a state with a number of ballot measures (like California) and you want to get information all at one source, free from editorializing
  • You want to see how certain initiatives are progressing throughout the country
  • You’re a political junkie who wants to add some expertise on a subject. Create an account at Ballotpedia and add to the discussion
  • You want to find polling information pre-election or results election night
  • You’re a journalist or blogger in need of detailed information about elections

Insider Tips:

  • Click on the news articles at the bottom of wiki pages. Though there’s plenty of factual information, you can also find links to editorials as well
  • Narrow down your searches. There’s so much information that you can get lost in the site, far afield from your original search
  • If you know of a good research, open up an account and add it to the Wiki

What we liked:

  • It has an impressive amount of information. There’s no reason to hunt around on Google for election information: it’s all here
  • It’s free
  • It’s really one of the most informative sites online. Frequently listed as one of the top election-related sites online

What we didn’t like:

  • It’s slow – especially on election night, but even during the year
  • Many wiki’s can be difficult to navigate, and Ballotpedia is no exception. You have to be pedia-literate to navigate the site
  • It’s not especially well-organized. There’s too much information on one page. There’s an impressive amount of information, but sometimes less is more


Company Info:


  • Free


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