N.J. League Site Puts Candidates On The Internet

N.J. League Site Puts Candidates On The Internet
Posted by FoM on October 14, 1999 at 06:41:44 PT
By Lauren Mayk
Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
There are no campaign spending limits, no commentators and no envelopes to stuff. The newest voter-education tool from the League of Women Voters allows Assembly candidates to post their biographies and issue statements on a Web site without the expense and limits of traditional campaign activities.
The Democracy Network Web site, launched yesterday, lets the candidates have a virtual debate by updating their sections to respond to opponents' comments on various topics. The site is at: candidates across the state are taking advantage of the opportunity to reach voters in their homes 24 hours a day without the expense of TV commercials or mass mailings. Candidates are notified when their opponents introduce a topic onto the issues grid, and they can update their comments at any time. Each campaign is supplied with a login and password that allows access only to that candidate's section."It's the candidates that are putting it up," said Nikki Harris, vice president of New Jersey's League. "We're not editing."Candidates have a 1,000-word limit on their issue responses and are warned that their information will be removed from the site if they defame another candidate.Organizers have asked only one candidate to tone down a submission. Eighth District candidate Ed Forchion of Chesilhurst, who is running as a member of the Legalize Marijuana Party, agreed to edit the language in his text, Harris said."He did put some interesting things on his site, but we did beg him to remember that we are encouraging children to use this site," she said.In the Seventh District, five of the six candidates are participating. Hosey Best, a Conservative Party candidate from Willingboro, said yesterday that he planned to post information soon. "This is a free opportunity for all candidates to have their say. It's that simple," said Norman Wahner, a Conservative Party candidate from Cinnaminson in the Seventh District. Wahner, Best and the two Republican candidates from the Seventh District attended yesterday's meeting at the Burlington County Library in Westampton to introduce the site. Scott Rubin, representing Marie Hall of Medford Lakes, a Democratic candidate from the Eighth District, said Hall posted information on the site more than two weeks ago. "This is our way to get our message across because the other candidates have so much money," he said. "We don't."New Jersey's League of Women Voters teamed up with Rutgers University's Eagleton Institute of Politics to launch the site, which includes candidate lists and positions, an explanation of ballot questions, links to other political and media sites, campaign finance information, and voter registration and absentee voting forms. The online forms will make the campaign season a little less hectic for League activists, Harris said. "League members have been standing in front of markets for years," Harris said. "I really hope this catches on because . . . I'm really tired of handing out these forms."New Jersey is one of 15 states with Democracy Network sites. Links to these states, including Pennsylvania, can be found at: information on the 2000 presidential election is already available on the site, but the League plans to expand the information on that and other local races, Harris said.Voters can write to candidates who have e-mail addresses or send comments to them via electronic messages to the League.The Philadelphia Inquirer October 14, 1999 1998 Philadelphia Newspapers Inc. Assembly Candidate is Arrested in Stratford - 10/13/99 Marijuana Party 
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