This article is from the archives of the UB Reporter.

Electronic Highways

Published: October 7, 2004

Web provides the lowdown on the election

Tomorrow, Oct. 8, is the last day to register to vote for the Nov. 2 election! The University Libraries are actively encouraging students to vote by posting registration deadlines and much more on its Register to Vote @ Your Library Web site (http://ublib. and providing registration and absentee ballot forms at every library reference desk. Hundreds of UB students picked up forms a couple of weeks ago at special tables set up by the libraries on both campuses: Now it is up to everyone to make sure their forms are mailed in by the deadline!

Many people doubt that their ballot really makes a difference, or that the outcome of a non-local election has any impact upon their daily lives. If you tend to agree, then check out Rock the Vote (http://www., which argues that students must be aware that policy issues that affect them—such as health care, the war and the possibility of the reinstatement of a draft, the costs of education, and the availability of jobs—can be affected directly by an informed electorate selecting the most qualified candidates.

Are you confused? Do you keep changing your mind about the candidates, depending on the latest story or campaign ad raising a ruckus over the waves, the Net and the tube? To assist you in making up your mind and staying informed, two university librarians have compiled Presidential Election 2004 (< strong>, a useful guide to Web sites covering such topics as starting points, election and political process, candidates and parties, issues, media accounts and current news, the lighter side of the election and voter information and registration.

If you are unclear about where a candidate stands on issues you care deeply about, fill out the President Match Q&A Guide sponsored by AOL News and Time magazine (http://www. The guide questionnaire covers social issues, crime, education, security and international policy, benefit programs and the economy. At the end, the survey will reveal whether President Bush or Sen. Kerry best matches your values.

To get an even clearer picture of what's really going on behind the curtain of the presidential race media coverage, there are several sites that will help clarify the confusion of the campaign kerfuffles. Take a look at the summary of the Sept. 24 interviews on NOW with Bill Moyers (http://www. examining the history and importance of presidential debates. The Annenberg Political Fact Check (http://www., a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, is a "nonpartisan, nonprofit, 'consumer advocate' for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics," monitoring the "factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players in TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews and news releases." FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting) ( is a well-known media watchdog uncovering media bias and censorship. FAIR "advocates for greater diversity in the press and scrutinizes media practices that marginalize public interest, minority and dissenting viewpoints." Links to other organizations that help citizens analyze media messages are listed in NOW with Bill Moyers' American Media Watch (http: //

If you'd like to participate in the election process on a level beyond that of casting your vote, consider volunteering to be a poll monitor. The nonpartisan Election Protection coalition (http://www. will train and deploy thousands of volunteers at polling places across the country to help insure that the vote of all Americans will be cast and counted.

—Nina Cascio and Rick McRae, University Libraries