PLATINUM2024

Center for National Independence in Politics

Facts for All

aka Vote Smart   |   Des Moines, IA   |  www.justfacts.votesmart.org

Mission

Vote Smart's mission is to provide free, factual, unbiased information on candidates and elected officials to ALL Americans.

Ruling year info

1988

President

Dr. Kyle Dell

Co Principal Officer

Aline Alves da Costa

Main address

1153 24th St

Des Moines, IA 50311 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

85-0364261

NTEE code info

Voter Education/Registration (R40)

Research Institutes and/or Public Policy Analysis (R05)

Research Institutes and/or Public Policy Analysis (B05)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2023, 2022 and 2021.
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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

A healthy democratic people require not just information on politics, but trusted, nonpartisan information across 365 days of every year, not just on Election Day every other year. Vote Smart has been collecting and sharing this information, free to every American, for over 30 years. Other organizations come and go or only update their information within a few weeks of Election Day every other year. Vote Smart is a trusted source of information every day of every year for every American.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Research

Vote Smart devotes considerable effort to researching information about all candidates for Presidential, Congressional, Gubernatorial, and State Legislative office and elected officials. This includes voting records, biographical and contact information, issue positions, interest group ratings, public statements and campaign finances. One of many ways this is done is through a political courage test which asks candidates which issues they will support and oppose. Voters thus have access to unbiased information on candidates as well as those serving in elected positions. Much of this research is done by volunteers and project interns who spend 10 weeks at the project.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Once information is thoroughly researched and substantiated, Vote Smart takes it directly into communities. This is done through: 1. A strong website where a comprehensive database on officials can be easily accessed. 2. Partnerships with libraries to disseminate information. 3 A voter's research hotline which can be called to access information. 4. Publications are available include a "Voters Self Defense Manual". 5. Significant resources made available to political journalists to help in fact checking and background for stories. This includes "The Reporters Source Book" which provides a concise overview of major national issues as well as a contact directory for hundreds of sources.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of people trained

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Research

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

We train college students on contributing to our voter education programs and the use of these programs to help fight disinformation in politics today.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

James Madison once wrote, that "a popular government without popular information or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy...and a people who mean to be their own governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives." Vote Smart's goal is for every American to have the information they need to be a fully empowered citizen in our democracy every day of every year.

A non-partisan research center, Vote Smart collects factual information on over 40,000 candidates and officials—presidential, congressional, gubernatorial, state legislative, and judicial. Vote Smart compiles candidate issue positions, campaign contributions, biographies, voting records, public statements, and evaluations done by special interest groups, as well as ballot measures and how to register to vote. It is a virtual one-stop shopping center for political information; accessible free of charge on the web at www.votesmart.org, by calling the toll-free Voter's Research Hotline (888-VOTE SMART), and in a free publication called the Voter's Self-Defense Manual. All you need to know to get the facts on your officials is your zip code and the issues that concern you.

Vote Smart will accomplish its mission by:
- Providing all citizens with accurate, abundant, relevant information on candidates, incumbents, and issues free of charge whenever they have a question or concern;
- Upholding the highest standards of accuracy, balance, and integrity of any information gathered or shared;
- Maintaining strict nonpartisanship in both our data and programs, through a review and approval process established and conducted by our board;
- Accepting donations only from average citizens and organizations that align with our stated gift acceptance and fundraising policy values;
- Relying on the commitment of volunteers, interns, and staff members willing to accept minimal compensation as the primary source of labor in gathering and sharing this information;
- Using all available public information channels (i.e., electronic, telephone, print, media, public libraries) to disseminate the information gathered;
- Partnering with likeminded organizations to share our information and to educate and support all Americans.

Our impact metrics for the 2022 election cycle were:
More than 6 million people were helped by Vote Smart programs
More than 40,000 views on social media
More than 10,000 people requested printed copies of our Voters Self Defense Manual
More than 40,000 candidates were researched and include in our programs
More than 57,000 issue positions by candidates were researched
More than 2,000,000 ratings and endorsements from interest groups of every stripe were included in our programs
More than 1,400,000 public statements were available for keyword searches
More than 20,000 key votes were categorized and summarized in accessible language

For 2024, we are aiming to serve more Americans by:
A renewed web presence that reflect improved user design
A set of new tools that make it easier than ever to get answers on your smart phone
A greater set of partnerships to deliver programs to more Americans that remain unaware of Vote Smart

Financials

Center for National Independence in Politics
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Center for National Independence in Politics

Board of directors
as of 02/21/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Brooks Jackson

No Affiliation

Jessica Arrigoni

No Affiliation

Brent Steel

No Affiliation

Jon Trachta

No Affiliation

Sarah Kruse

Tess McEnery

Gary Jacobson

Walker McKusick

Brooks Jackson

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 2/19/2024

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Hispanic/Latino/Latina/Latinx
Gender identity
Female

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 01/12/2023

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Policies and processes
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.