Monitoring Campaign Promises

Citizens will now be able to track which of their publicly elected representatives are sticking to their campaign promises, thanks to a new program created by Oregon-based Project Vote Smart. "Congress Track," a new computer program, enables people to log on to the internet and track the voting patterns of their representatives and legislation daily."Often we see former candidates changing before our very eyes after they take office, forgetting the pledges they made to voters, and becoming more responsive to special interests than to people in their own districts," said Claire Scheuren, Project Vote Smart board president. "Our interns and volunteers investigate how they hold up under a simple truth test: the day-to-day scrutiny of their performance in office."The project tracks legislation through factual data on voting records, issue positions, campaign contributions, ratings and backgrounds. It also provides contact information for 8087 elected officials and candidates, including all federal, state gubernatorial and legislative office holders. The database details how representatives position themselves on such issues as the balanced budget and term limits amendments, juvenile crime, education, campaign finance reform, defense spending, taxes, the environment and abortion policy.The comprehensive information can be accessed on the Vote Smart Web site (http://www.vote-smart.org) and also over the toll-free Voter's Research Hotline (1-800-622-SMART). The site also provides a directory of links to hundreds of other sites that deal with politics and government on the Internet."It doesn't take any special formula to figure out that if you keep looking at how they're voting and where their money is coming from, and compare that information with their campaign rhetoric, your elected officials will be less likely to take the poison potion that turns them into Mr. Hyde in Congress," said Scheuren.Project Vote Smart is a national, non-partisan organization. For more information, contact Adelaide Elm at 541-754-2746.

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Imagine you've forgotten once again the difference between a gorilla and a chimpanzee, so you do a quick Google image search of “gorilla." But instead of finding images of adorable animals, photos of a Black couple pop up.

Is this just a glitch in the algorithm? Or, is Google an ad company, not an information company, that's replicating the discrimination of the world it operates in? How can this discrimination be addressed and who is accountable for it?

“These platforms are encoded with racism," says UCLA professor and best-selling author of Algorithms of Oppression, Dr. Safiya Noble. “The logic is racist and sexist because it would allow for these kinds of false, misleading, kinds of results to come to the fore…There are unfortunately thousands of examples now of harm that comes from algorithmic discrimination."

On At Liberty this week, Dr. Noble joined us to discuss what she calls “algorithmic oppression," and what needs to be done to end this kind of bias and dismantle systemic racism in software, predictive analytics, search platforms, surveillance systems, and other technologies.

What you can do:
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