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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ballotpedia logo.png
Type of businessNonprofit
Type of site
Available inEnglish
HeadquartersMiddleton, Wisconsin, U.S.
OwnerLucy Burns Institute
LaunchedMay 30, 2007; 14 years ago (2007-05-30)[1]
Current statusActive

Ballotpedia is a nonprofit and nonpartisan online political encyclopedia that covers American federal, state, and local politics, elections, and public policy.[2][3][4][5] Written by a staff of researchers and writers, the website was founded in 2007.[6][7] Ballotpedia is sponsored by the Lucy Burns Institute, a nonprofit organization based in Middleton, Wisconsin. As of 2014, Ballotpedia employed 34 writers and researchers;[8] it reported an editorial staff of over 50 in 2018.[9]


Ballotpedia's stated goal is "to inform people about politics by providing accurate and objective information about politics at all levels of government."[9] The website "provides information on initiative supporters and opponents, financial reports, litigation news, status updates, poll numbers, and more."[10] It originally was a "community-contributed web site, modeled after Wikipedia" which is now edited by paid staff. It "contains volumes of information about initiatives, referenda, and recalls."[11]

In 2008, InfoWorld called Ballotpedia one of the "Top 20 Election Day Web sites and online tools."[12]

According to The Colorado Springs Gazette in 2013, "Ballotpedia is a nonprofit wiki encyclopedia that uses nonpartisan collaboration to gather political info for sharing."[13]


Ballotpedia was founded by the Citizens in Charge Foundation in 2007.[14] Ballotpedia was sponsored by the Sam Adams Alliance in 2008, along with Judgepedia and Sunshine Review. In 2009, their sponsorship was transferred to the nonprofit Lucy Burns Institute, based in Middleton, Wisconsin.[14][15]

On July 9, 2013, Sunshine Review was acquired by the Lucy Burns Institute and merged into Ballotpedia.[16] The Lucy Burns Institute is named after suffragist Lucy Burns who along with Alice Paul founded the National Woman's Party. Judgepedia was merged into Ballotpedia in March 2015.

In May 2018, in response to scrutiny over the misuse of Twitter by those seeking to maliciously influence elections, Twitter announced that it would partner with Ballotpedia to add special labels verifying the authenticity of political candidates running for election in the U.S.[17][18]

During the 2018 United States elections, Ballotpedia supplied Amazon Alexa with information on polling place locations and political candidates.[19]


Judgepedia was an online wiki-style encyclopedia covering the American legal system.[20][21] In 2015, all content from Judgepedia was merged into Ballotpedia.[22][23] It included a database of information on state and federal courts and judges.[24][25][26]

According to its original website, the goal of Judgepedia was "to help readers discover and learn useful information about the court systems and judiciary in the United States."[27]

Judgepedia was sponsored by the Sam Adams Alliance in 2007, along with Ballotpedia and Sunshine Review.[28] In 2009, sponsorship of Judgepedia was transferred to the Lucy Burns Institute, which merged Judgepedia into Ballotpedia in March 2015.[27]

Judgepedia had a weekly publication titled Federal Courts, Empty Benches which tracked the vacancy rate for Article III federal judicial posts.[29]

The Orange County Register noted Judgepedia's coverage of Courts of Appeal and the Supreme Court.[30]

Judgepedia's profile of Elena Kagan was included in the Harvard Law School Library's guide to Kagan's Supreme Court nomination and the Law Library of Congress's guide to Kagan.[31][32]

Reception and studies

When actress Regina King won an Emmy at the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards in 2020, during her acceptance speech she encouraged people to use Ballotpedia to prepare for the upcoming election.[33][34]

In 2018, Ballotpedia, ABC News, and FiveThirtyEight collected and analyzed data on candidates in Democratic Party primaries in order to determine which types of candidates Democratic primary voters were gravitating towards.[35]

Ballotpedia has helped spotlight the unnecessarily complex language used in various U.S. ballot measures. In 2017, with a sample of 27 issues from nine states, the group determined that, on average, ballot descriptions required a graduate-level education to understand the complex wording of issues, with the average American adult only reading at a 7th to 8th grade reading level. A Georgia State University analysis of 1200 ballot measures over a decade showed that voters were more likely to skip complex issues altogether.[36] Further, some ballot language confuses potential voters with the use of double negatives. A few states require plain-language explanations of ballot wording.[37]

In 2015, Harvard University visiting scholar Carl Klarner conducted a study for Ballotpedia which found that state legislative elections have become less competitive over time, with 2014's elections being the least competitive elections in the past 40 years.[38]

Ballotpedia has been mentioned in The Washington Post' politics blog, "The Fix";[39] in The Wall Street Journal;[40] and in Politico.[41]

Judgepedia has also been cited in The Washington Post[42] and its Volokh Conspiracy blog,[43] in The Wall Street Journal's Law Blog,[44] and in The New York Times' "The Caucus" politics blog.[45] The Orange County Register noted Judgepedia's coverage of Courts of Appeal and the Supreme Court.[30]


  1. ^ " WHOIS, DNS, & Domain Info - DomainTools". WHOIS. Retrieved 2016-11-12.
  2. ^ Chokshi, Niraj (September 9, 2014). "Tuesday is the last day of the state legislative primary season". Washington Post. Retrieved 8 December 2014.
  3. ^ Wisniewski, Mary; Hendee, David (January 24, 2011). "Omaha mayoral recall vote part of angry voter trend". Reuters. Retrieved 8 December 2014.
  4. ^ Dewan, Shaila (November 5, 2014). "Higher Minimum Wage Passes in 4 States; Florida Defeats Marijuana Measure". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 December 2014.
  5. ^ Morones, Alyssa (2013-08-22). "Ballotpedia Launches 'Wikipedia' for School Board Elections". Education Week. Retrieved 21 October 2013.
  6. ^ Chokshi, Niraj (November 5, 2018). "Voter Guide: How, When and Where to Vote on Tuesday". New York Times. Retrieved 19 December 2018.
  7. ^ Levine, Andrew (October 29, 2018). "New York Today: Why Don't We Have Early Voting?". New York Times. Retrieved 19 December 2018.
  8. ^ Darnay, Keith (November 3, 2014). "Find election info at the last minute". Bismarck Tribune. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
  9. ^ a b "Ballotpedia:About". Retrieved 24 February 2016.
  10. ^ Davis, Gene (August 6, 2008). "Denver's got issues: Ballot issues & you can learn more at". Denver Daily News. Denver. Retrieved April 27, 2011.
  11. ^ Lawrence, David G. (2009). California: The Politics of Diversity. Stamford, Connecticut: Cengage Learning. p. 83. ISBN 978-0-495-57097-4.
  12. ^ Raphael, JR (November 3, 2008). "Top 20 Election Day Web sites and online tools: The best resources -- everything from widgets to mobile alerts -- to take you through the election's end". InfoWorld. Retrieved April 27, 2011.
  13. ^ McGraw, Carol (2013-10-14). "Amendment 66 deemed a big issue nationally". Colorado Springs Gazette. Archived from the original on October 22, 2013. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
  14. ^ a b Hoover, Steven. "Ballotpedia Internet Review". Association of College & Research Libraries. American Library Association. Retrieved 2020-09-20.
  15. ^ Spillman, Benjamin (2013-07-29). "Cost to appeal Las Vegas Planning Commission decision called prohibitive". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved 21 October 2013.
  16. ^ "About Sunshine Review on Ballotpedia". 2013-07-09.
  17. ^ "Twitter to add labels to U.S. political candidates". CBS. May 23, 2018. Retrieved May 23, 2018.
  18. ^ Scola, Nancy (May 23, 2018). "Twitter to verify election candidates in the midterms". Politico. Retrieved May 23, 2018.
  19. ^ Malone Kircher, Madison (November 2, 2018). "Hey, Alexa, Who Is Winning the Election in New York?". New York Magazine. Retrieved 19 December 2018.
  20. ^ "Nonprofit Group Offers Free Judicial Profiles Online at". Metropolitan News-Enterprise. 2009-12-21. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
  21. ^ Ambrogi, Robert (October 2010). "Crowdsourcing the Law: Trends and Other Innovations". Oregon State Bar Bulletin. Oregon State Bar. Retrieved 12 August 2014.
  22. ^ Pallay, Geoff. "Ballotpedia to absorb Judgepedia". Ballotpedia. Ballotpedia. Retrieved 8 September 2015.
  23. ^ Mahtesian, Charles (2012-10-16). "The best races you've never heard of". Politico. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
  24. ^ Peoples, Lee (2010-11-06). "The Lawyer's Guide to Using and Citing Wikipedia" (PDF). Oklahoma Bar Journal. 81: 2438. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
  25. ^ Davey, Chris; Salaz, Karen (November–December 2010). "Survey Looks at New Media and the Court". Journal of the American Judicature Society. 94 (3).
  26. ^ Meckler, Mark (2012). Tea Party Patriots: The Second American Revolution. Macmillan. p. 167. ISBN 978-0805094374.
  27. ^ a b "Judgepedia:About". Judgepedia. Lucy Burns Institute. Archived from the original on 25 June 2014. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
  28. ^ Phillips, Kate (2008-07-19). "The Sam Adams Project". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
  29. ^ "Pennsylvania and Wisconsin Have Federal Courts with Highest Vacancy Rates; across Country, 9.9% of Federal Judicial Posts Are Vacant". Telecommunications Weekly. Retrieved 13 August 2014.
  30. ^ a b Seiler, John (2010-10-22). "John Seiler: Appellate judges aplenty on ballot". Orange County Register. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
  31. ^ "Guide to the nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court of the United States". Harvard Law School Library. Harvard Law School. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
  32. ^ "Elena Kagan". Law Library of Congress. Library of Congress. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
  33. ^ Salam, Maya (21 September 2020). "This Year's Emmy Winners Want You to Vote". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 September 2020.
  34. ^ Noveck, Jocelyn (September 21, 2020). "The 'Pandemmys' were weird and sometimes wonderful". Washington Post. Retrieved 30 September 2020.
  35. ^ Conroy, Meredith; Nguyen, Mai; Rakich, Nathaniel (August 10, 2018). "We Researched Hundreds Of Races. Here's Who Democrats Are Nominating". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved 19 December 2018.
  36. ^ Wogan, J.B. (2017-11-06). "Unless You Went to Grad School, You Probably Won't Understand What's on Your Ballot". Retrieved 2018-10-22.
  37. ^ Collins, Steve (2017-11-16). "Study: Maine ballot questions too confusing even for college graduates - Lewiston Sun Journal". Lewiston Sun Journal. Retrieved 2018-10-22.
  38. ^ Wilson, Reid (May 7, 2015). "Study: State elections becoming less competitive". Washington Post. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  39. ^ Simon, Jeff (February 3, 2014). "Lost your bid to be an 'American Idol'? Try Congress. It's easier". Washington Post. Retrieved 25 March 2014.
  40. ^ Moore, Stephen (November 5, 2013). "Ten Election Day Ballot Measures". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 25 March 2014.
  41. ^ Mahtesian, Charles (August 8, 2012). "A rough night for incumbents". Politico. Retrieved 25 March 2014.
  42. ^ Markon, Jerry (2011-01-18). "Slain federal judge John Roll was at the center of Arizona's immigration debate". Washington Post. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
  43. ^ Volokh, Eugene (2014-04-25). "Judge sues accuser for libel, demands to see accuser's evidence". Washington Post. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
  44. ^ Koppel, Nathan (2010-06-22). "New Orleans Judge Blocks Offshore Drilling Ban". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
  45. ^ Shear, Michael (January 8, 2011). "Representative Giffords Shot". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 August 2014.

External links

This page was last edited on 5 July 2021, at 05:50
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