Publication Date: October 5, 1998
NEW YORK, NY—At 6:00 AM, PDT a new era in American Politics began. At long last, the promise of the Internet—to provide voters on-demand access to high quality information about government and politics—has been fulfilled. “Democracy Network’s national launch marks the birth of a new political paradigm—one where voters can get their information directly from the candidates, in the format they want, when they want it,” says Tracy Westen, President of the Democracy Network. “DNet makes the promise of the Internet a reality by bringing a nation full of election and government information into a single, easy to navigate site.”
“Before DNet, voters only direct communication with candidates was in the form of paid television advertisements or mailers. DNet was designed to make it easy for voters to communicate directly with candidates,” says Area Madaras, Director of the Democracy Network. “DNet’s format encourages candidates to offer detailed and informative statements about their positions rather than negative statements about an opponent. And it makes it easy for voters to find and review this information. DNet takes the work out of becoming an informed voter.”
DNet’s signature feature is the candidate grid—a single page that provides voters access to every candidate’s statement on the issues in a campaign. Voters can also search for one issue across multiple elections. A new feature, the Issue of the Day, allows voters to review issue debates in other states. Where grids are unavailable, DNet provides links to reliable sources of information.
Tom Grubisich, Managing Editor, Digital City/America Online, was attracted to DNet because of the wealth of information it provides coupled with its ease of use. “DNet is a crucial component of our mission to provide online coverage that will not only keep people informed about political races and ballot questions in their states and congressional districts but give them opportunities to help shape the agenda of issues.”
Dr. Carolyn Jefferson-Jenkins, President of the League of Women Voters, explains why the League of Women Voters Education Fund has joined with Dnet to create sites in seven states. “Voters have told us they need in-depth, nonpartisan information on voting procedures, election materials and candidates and we are providing that with the latest in online technology. By providing this information online, the League is guaranteeing that all citizens can quickly access complete information to make informed decisions – whether they work third shift or long days in the law firm.”
DNet has won numerous awards for its pioneering role in the area of online public affairs information. It is expanding its award winning coverage across the United States with the help of its partners the League of Women Voters and the Earth Pledge Foundation.
Becky Cain, Former League of Women Voters President, stated “The Democracy Network project offers a wonderful opportunity to use new technology to enhance the democratic process. We were so impressed that the Board selected the project for a Leadership Award in recognition of the innovative use of interactive media.”