Study into Web's Impact on State and Local Elections Goes Public

In an effort to gauge the impact of the World Wide Web on state and local elections, the Democracy Online Project has developed a new Web site, www.cityvote.org, that provides citizens a means to offer feedback on campaigns in nine U.S. cities and Northern Virginia.

Eligible voters in Baltimore; Charlotte, N.C.; Des Moines, Iowa; Indianapolis, Nashua, N.H.; Philadelphia; Pittsburgh; San Francisco; Seattle and Northern Virginia are being invited to monitor the Web sites of candidates, civic groups, political parties and government agencies and then fill out short questionnaires about their findings each week. The answers, along with other data obtained through interviews with local leaders, Web site analysis, and a post-1999 election conference with local political experts will become part of a report to be published next year.

"This is an opportunity for citizens to have an impact on campaign practices next year and beyond," said Michael Cornfield, research director for the Democracy Online Project. "We want to learn what people want to look at and what they regard as true or misleading in what they see."

The Democracy Online Project (www.democracyonline.org) is a two-year research and advocacy initiative funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts and administered by the George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management. Its mission is to promote the development of online politics in a manner that upholds democratic principles and values.

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