Political Courage Test Information For Candidates

If you are a candidate for an office that Vote Smart covers (Presidential, Congressional, Gubernatorial, State Legislative), this page provides instructions on how to send information about yourself for inclusion in our database. If you have any questions that are not covered here, please contact Vote Smart's Political Courage Test Department.

Please note that Vote Smart does not permit the use of its name or program in any partisan activity, including advertising, debates, and speeches.

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Political Courage Test Department

Frequently Asked Candidate Questions:

Vote Smart covers elections for state legislative offices, elected statewide offices, and all federal elections. After a state's filing deadline, all candidates running for an office we cover are entered into our database and posted on the website. With the exception of registered write-ins for the office of President, Vote Smart only covers those candidates who will appear on the official ballot.
Any current candidate for an office which we cover can update their contact and biographical information by logging onto our secure candidate submission portal and submitting any information that they would like displayed on our website. If you do not already have your log-in information, or you are having some issues with the submission process, please contact the Political Courage Test department.
Please send us a recent photo (professional quality head and shoulders photo preferred) and we will get it up on our website as soon as possible. Photos can only be submitted online: either by email, through the candidate submissions website, or by linking us to a photo which can be downloaded.
The Political Courage Test is designed in collaboration with over 200 political scientists, journalists, and leaders from across the political spectrum. Months of research and reviews help ensure that the Test is as nonpartisan and unbiased as possible, and that the issues included on the Test are both the top concerns of the American people and likely to come up in the next legislative session. Candidates are free to address the issues in their own words, and have the right to change or clarify their answers at anytime. The Test is intended to measure one aspect of political courage: candidates' willingness to provide voters (their prospective employers) with this information during a campaign. A candidate's political courage is calculated based on the number of issue areas the candidate is willing to address on the Political Courage Test during the testing period. These scores will be released on Vote Smart's website, our partners' websites, publications, and to local, state, and national media outlets.
The Political Courage Test is administered state-by-state to candidates for President, Congress, Governor, and State Legislature. After each state's primary, candidates that qualify for the general election will be mailed their log-in information to access our secure candidate submission portal and complete the Political Courage Test online. Candidates have a specified amount of time to return the Political Courage Test. After the Political Courage Test deadline passes, the information will be released to the public.
If you did not receive your log-in information or otherwise cannot access the Political Courage Test through secure.votesmart.org, please contact the Political Courage Test department at politicalcourage@votesmart.org. Alternatively, you can print off the test form for your office from our Web site and mail it in (though online submissions are much preferred).
The Political Courage Test measures candidates' willingness to provide issue information to voters. Because the Political Courage Test is conducted every election cycle and because the issues facing elected officials may change from year to year, Vote Smart cannot transfer the information from a previous election to the current one. However, you may re-submit the same answers from previous years on your current election's Political Courage Test form with your signature.
Your responses to the Political Courage Test will be posted to our website as soon as possible after you confirm your completion. Vote Smart must assure that all candidate responses are processed and thoroughly checked before that state's results can be released.
Yes. If you would like to change any of your answers on the Political Courage Test, please mail or email (with electronic signature) the corrections along with your signature to Vote Smart. We will change the information as quickly as possible. Your signature and the date are required to make any changes to your answers.
Vote Smart does not permit the use of its name or programs in any partisan activity, including advertising, debates, and speeches. If you feel your answers are being used in such a fashion please contact the Political Courage Test Department immediately at 515-989-6359.