VoteHelp - Frequently Asked Questions

What is VoteHelp?
What are other people saying about VoteHelp?
How are your results calculated?
Why aren't the questions more specific?
Why are the questions biased towards (liberals/conservatives)?
How can I contact VoteHelp?
Can I help/join VoteHelp?
What are the terms/conditions for this site?
I received an error on January 8th or 9th.
interested in taking over VoteHelp?


What is VoteHelp?
The goal of this site is to help people wade through the mountain of data on candidates to make informed voting decisions. We wanted the interface to be as simple as possible, but we also wanted it to be flexible enough to capture the variety of ways that people make voting decisions. We attempted to make the site as impartial as possible and have had conservatives, liberals, and libertarians give input in its design. Still, impartiality is a somewhat relative state, but we can honestly say that we tried.

This site is a project of Clark Benson, Ravi Iyer, Suzanne Soule, Jane Correia, and Jennifer Nairne.
Thanks also go out to Doug Stenstrom and Stacy Tagawa. See Clark Benson and Ravi Iyer’s ambitious new site - Ranker.
Based loosely on a design by Matt Hollis ©2006

What are other people saying about VoteHelp?
You can read more about what others have said about VoteHelp using these links:
Tara Met Blog
The Daily Elephant
The Zhen Blog
WJBC - Illinois
Ron Paul for President Blog
GOP Vixen
Dirty Harry's Place
More via Google

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How are your results calculated?
All agree/disagree statements are given a point value on a seven point scale with 1 being strongly disagree and 7 being strongly agree. The maximum distance between any 2 candidates is 6 points. We then apply your importance ratings to this distance score and compare the actual weighted distances between your views and the candidates' views versus the maximum possible distance between your views and the theoretical worst candidate. The result is the % match score we present on our results page.

Why aren't the questions more specific?
There are a number of ways to create such a tool and we always have to balance usability with power. The only way to get the variance between candidates in some cases is to ask the question generally and then rate the candidates to specific degrees. If we made the questions more specific, we would end up with basic yes or no answers that can't be scaled to match the nuances we are attempting to capture without requiring users to answer 100s of questions. We agree the questions could be more specific, and we continually refine things, but just know that there are tradeoffs in any decision and we receive emails all the time asking us to change questions in differing directions.

Why are the questions biased towards (liberals/conservatives)?
If you feel a question is biased, please feel free to email us. While we often get conflicting emails, we make every effort to try to address any issues of bias and continually refine our questions toward that end. We have run the questions by a number of people across the political spectrum to create the questions in their current format.

How can I contact VoteHelp?
Contact us at the below emails depending on your question:

Website use issues - webmaster at votehelp.org
Candidate stance questions - data at votehelp.org
Business inquiries - business at votehelp.org
Press inquiries - press at votehelp.org
Everything else - general at votehelp.org

What are the terms/conditions for this site?

ALL MATERIALS AND SERVICES IN THIS SITE AND THIRD-PARTY SITES TO WHICH IT LINKS ARE PROVIDED "AS IS" WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND. THE CONTENT PUBLISHED ON THIS WEB SITE MAY INCLUDE INACCURACIES OR TYPOGRAPHICAL ERRORS. CHANGES ARE PERIODICALLY MADE TO THE INFORMATION HEREIN. VOTEHELP MAY MAKE IMPROVEMENTS AND/OR CHANGES IN THIS WEB SITE AT ANY TIME INCLUDING CHANGES TO THESE TERMS AND CONDITIONS. VOTEHELP MAKE NO REPRESENTATIONS AND, TO THE FULLEST EXTENT ALLOWED BY LAW, DISCLAIM ALL WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE REGARDING THE SUITABILITY OF THE INFORMATION; THE ACCURACY, RELIABILITY, COMPLETENESS OR TIMELINESS OF THE CONTENT, SERVICES, PRODUCTS, TEXT, GRAPHICS, LINKS, OR OTHER ITEMS CONTAINED WITHIN THIS SITE, OR THE RESULTS OBTAINED FROM ACCESSING AND USING THIS SITE AND/OR THE CONTENT CONTAINED HEREIN. VOTEHELP DOES NOT WARRANT THAT THE FUNCTIONS CONTAINED IN THE MATERIALS WILL BE UNINTERRUPTED OR ERROR-FREE, THAT DEFECTS WILL BE CORRECTED, OR THAT THIS SITE, INCLUDING BULLETIN BOARDS OR THE SERVER THAT MAKES IT AVAILABLE, ARE FREE OF VIRUSES OR OTHER HARMFUL COMPONENTS. THE USER ASSUMES THE ENTIRE COST OF ALL NECESSARY MAINTENANCE, REPAIR OR CORRECTION.

Use of this site is at your own risk. This site may contain advice, opinions, and statements of various information providers and content providers. VOTEHELP does not represent or endorse the accuracy or reliability of any advice, opinion, statement or other information provided by any information provider or content provider, or any user of this site or other person or entity. Reliance upon any such opinion, advice, statement, or other information shall also be at your own risk. Neither VOTEHELP nor its affiliates, nor any of their respective agents, employees, information providers or content providers shall be liable to any User or anyone else for any inaccuracy, error, omission, interruption, timeliness, completeness, deletion, defect, failure of performance, computer virus, communication line failure, alteration of, or use of any content herein, regardless of cause, or for any damages resulting therefrom.

I received an error on January 8th or 9th.
Due to a surge of traffic on the evening of January 8th, our site experienced a technical glitch that caused an error message and showed inaccurate results. We regret this occurence and apologize for the confusion created. The error was fixed within 12 hours and steps have been taken to ensure it does not happen again.

Information is the currency of democracy. - Thomas Jefferson
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