Access sine qua non

The lynchpin of access to government information rests in the hands of every voter. Still not everyone votes, and not everyone knows how to get access to the voting systems. There’s lots of get out the vote information, of course, much of it sponsored by organizations that would like to advise you on how to vote.

Two national groups rise above partisan ship to provide the public with easy-to-use and understand guides to the election process, including information about the rights of voters, the process, local rules and regs. I thought I was tuned in because I know I’m registered and I can find my polling site — but I just spent two hours plumbing the depths of these resources. There’s an amazing amount of information here, carefully aggregated and analyzed by trusted national organizations.

The League of Women Voters has a great guide in the June 2008 issue of The National Voter. It’s replete with information on where to look for voter registration information, polling places, guides to PSA’s, involved organizations, and links to scores of resources.

OpenTheGovernment has also gathered a ton of information about the complexities of voting in its Election Resource Center., everything from a discussion of “caging” to how to challenge an election.

Minnesota has a history of poll site registration and other open policies. Still, not everyone who can be is “in the loop.” These two nonprofit organizations, and others, have done the research to ease access to the system. Before you post that get-out-to-vote sign in your front yard you might want to know where to send would-be voters for the facts. You don’t have to know the answers, just know where to look.