President of “VoteSmart” speaks to students about making informed decisions when voting

Jessica May

UNF’s Hicks Honors College welcomed the president of VoteSmart, Richard Kimball, who spoke to students about “voter self-defense” and how to find evidence-based information on politicians in order to keep them accountable.

“It is so important to vote right now. If you feel like our politics have become divisive, that is likely because in the last presidential election, only 58 percent of eligible voters voted, according to PBS, and in the last midterm elections, it was 36.4 percent,” Associate Director Leslie Kaplan of the Hicks Honors College said.

Richard Kimball spoke at the “Vote Smart” lecture event on campus. Photo by Jessica May.

According to Kaplan, the lecture was intended to offer resources that aid in students’ ability to research candidates in a manner that is both efficient and evidence-based.

VoteSmart is a research facility that helps voters become educated on the truth of the politicians running for office. VoteSmart also has a feature that will help voters find candidates that align with their best interests.

“What we do here is defend your rights to the facts,” Kimball said. “VoteSmart goes through statistics and follows back where campaign money comes from and what implications the donor money may have behind it.”

Sophia Wick, a sophomore communications major, went to the event.

“It was interesting that politicians know they’re manipulating the public’s opinion and that this guy was so open about how no matter what we’ll be manipulated but we have to educate and inform our selves to make smart voting decisions,” Wick said.

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