Project Vote Smart's questionnaires are part of the organization's 2000 National Political Awareness Test. The test extended through a period of six weeks starting in early August and ending with a Sept. 27 deadline for returning the questionnaire, said Adelaide Elm, a founding member of Project Vote Smart.
Based in Montana, Project Vote Smart was started in 1992 and lists among its founders some familiar names in recent American politics. Among them: the late Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and former presidential candidate Michael Dukakis.
The test and questions were prepared by journalists, politicians and political scientists from across the country, Elm said. They are based on relevance of the issues in a particular area, she said.
Candidates were contacted by letters and phone calls during the six-week period, first to tell them to expect the questionnaire followed by reminders to complete and return them, Elm said.