By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League
RALEIGH — Tar Heel voters will have a number of choices to make Nov. 2, and thanks to the North Carolina Family Policy Council, their decisions can be informed ones.
For the fourth consecutive year, the non-partisan, non-profit research organization is putting together a voter guide to give residents a look at the ideologies of candidates for U.S. Congress, the N.C. General Assembly and more than three dozen judiciary seats.
Questionnaires were sent to all 413 candidates, according to Brittany Farrell, assistant director of policy for NCFPC, with answers compiled for both print and online versions of the guide.
“We go through a rigorous process to come up with questions for the guide because we want them to be relevant to public policy and current issues,” she said, adding that this year’s topics include abortion, education, gambling, marriage, homosexual rights, tax policy, education and the budget process to name a few.
To ensure that the questions are worded fairly and appropriately for use by 501(c)(3) — tax exempt — organizations, the Family Policy Council has them reviewed by attorneys who specialize in election law. Although the results are printed in spreadsheet form for easy comparison, candidates who want to expound on their answers can do so via accompanying letters or explanations that are linked to the online version.
“We upload the responses so that you can read what the candidate wrote in their own handwriting. You see not only the questionnaire, but anything else they sent in to explain their ideology,” Farrell said. “Even in the print version we have notations that show if there is additional information on the online version that can be accessed.”
She said the organization’s sole purpose in producing the comprehensive election resource is to be a conduit between the candidates and the public so that voters are as informed as possible before casting their ballots.
That’s why the Family Policy Council is printing some 400,000 of the guides and giving them away to churches, organizations and individuals across the state.
“We can’t say enough about the value of this voter guide and the need for Christians to get informed before they vote,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. “Church and civic leaders should act now to order these and get them into the hands of their members.”
To receive the guides, in bundles of 100, simply phone the North Carolina Family Policy Council at (919) 807-0800; fax an order to (919) 807-0900 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your name, church or organization, phone, e-mail and a street address (not P.O. Box) where the guides can be shipped, in addition to how many, in multiples of 100, you will need.
The guides are expected to be shipped early in October so that organizations will have plenty of time to distribute them before Election Day.
“We encourage people to go ahead and request them now so that they can receive the guides and have four weekends prior to election day and even a couple of weeks before early voting starts on Oct. 14 to hand them out,” Farrell said.
Interested voters can also keep an eye on the NCFPC Web site at www.ncfpc.org/voterresources2010.html to catch the voter guide online early next month or access an order form to request print copies.