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Ballotpedia logo.png
Type of businessNonprofit
Type of site
Available inEnglish
HeadquartersMiddleton, Wisconsin, U.S.
OwnerLucy Burns Institute
Alexa rankIncrease 1,663 (As of 27 January 2019)[1]
LaunchedMay 30, 2007; 13 years ago (2007-05-30)[2]
Current statusActive

Ballotpedia is a nonprofit and nonpartisan online political encyclopedia that covers American federal, state, and local politics, elections, and public policy.[3][4][5][6] Written by a staff of researchers and writers, the website was founded in 2007.[7][8] Ballotpedia is sponsored by the Lucy Burns Institute, a nonprofit organization based in Middleton, Wisconsin. As of 2014, Ballotpedia employed 34 writers and researchers;[9] it reported an editorial staff of over 50 in 2018.[10]


Ballotpedia's stated goal is "to inform people about politics by providing accurate and objective information about politics at all levels of government."[10] The website "provides information on initiative supporters and opponents, financial reports, litigation news, status updates, poll numbers, and more."[11] It originally was a "community-contributed web site, modeled after Wikipedia" which is now edited by paid staff. It "contains volumes of information about initiatives, referenda, and recalls."[12]

In 2008, InfoWorld called Ballotpedia one of the "Top 20 Election Day Web sites and online tools."[13]

According to The Colorado Springs Gazette in 2013, "Ballotpedia is a nonprofit wiki encyclopedia that uses nonpartisan collaboration to gather political info for sharing."[14]


Ballotpedia was founded by the Citizens in Charge Foundation in 2007.[15] Ballotpedia was sponsored by the Sam Adams Alliance in 2008, along with Judgepedia and Sunshine Review. In 2009, their sponsorship was transferred to the nonprofit Lucy Burns Institute, based in Middleton, Wisconsin.[15][16]

On July 9, 2013, Sunshine Review was acquired by the Lucy Burns Institute and merged into Ballotpedia.[17] The Lucy Burns Institute is named after suffragist Lucy Burns who along with Alice Paul founded the National Woman's Party. Judgepedia was merged into Ballotpedia in March 2015.

In May 2018, in response to scrutiny over the misuse of Twitter by those seeking to maliciously influence elections, Twitter announced that it would partner with Ballotpedia to add special labels verifying the authenticity of political candidates running for election in the U.S.[18][19]

During the 2018 United States elections, Ballotpedia supplied Amazon Alexa with information on polling place locations and political candidates.[20]


Judgepedia was an online wiki-style encyclopedia covering the American legal system.[21][22] In 2015, all content from Judgepedia was merged into Ballotpedia.[23][24] It included a database of information on state and federal courts and judges.[25][26][27]

According to its original website, the goal of Judgepedia was "to help readers discover and learn useful information about the court systems and judiciary in the United States."[28]

Judgepedia was sponsored by the Sam Adams Alliance in 2007, along with Ballotpedia and Sunshine Review.[29] In 2009, sponsorship of Judgepedia was transferred to the Lucy Burns Institute, which merged Judgepedia into Ballotpedia in March 2015.[28]

Judgepedia had a weekly publication titled Federal Courts, Empty Benches which tracked the vacancy rate for Article III federal judicial posts.[30]

Reception and studies

Ballotpedia has been mentioned in The Washington Post' politics blog, "The Fix";[31] in The Wall Street Journal;[32] and in Politico.[33]

Judgepedia has also been cited in The Washington Post[34] and its Volokh Conspiracy blog,[35] in The Wall Street Journal's Law Blog,[36] and in The New York Times' "The Caucus" politics blog.[37] The Orange County Register noted Judgepedia's coverage of Courts of Appeal and the Supreme Court.[38] Judgepedia's profile of Elena Kagan was included in the Harvard Law School Library's guide to Kagan's Supreme Court nomination and the Law Library of Congress's guide to Kagan.[39][40]

In 2015, Harvard University visiting scholar Carl Klarner conducted a study for Ballotpedia which found that state legislative elections have become less competitive over time, with 2014's elections being the least competitive elections in the past 40 years.[41]

Ballotpedia has helped spotlight the unnecessarily complex language used in various U.S. ballot measures. In 2017, with a sample of 27 issues from nine states, the group determined that, on average, ballot descriptions required a graduate-level education to understand the complex wording of issues, with the average American adult only reading at a 7th to 8th grade reading level. A Georgia State University analysis of 1200 ballot measures over a decade showed that voters were more likely to skip complex issues altogether.[42] Further, some ballot language confuses potential voters with the use of double negatives. A few states require plain-language explanations of ballot wording.[43]

In 2018, Ballotpedia, ABC News, and FiveThirtyEight collected and analyzed data on candidates in Democratic Party primaries in order to determine which types of candidates Democratic primary voters were gravitating towards.[44]


  1. ^ " Traffic, Demographics and Competitors - Alexa". Alexa Internet. Retrieved .
  2. ^ " WHOIS, DNS, & Domain Info - DomainTools". WHOIS. Retrieved .
  3. ^ Chokshi, Niraj (September 9, 2014). "Tuesday is the last day of the state legislative primary season". Washington Post. Retrieved 2014.
  4. ^ Wisniewski, Mary; Hendee, David (January 24, 2011). "Omaha mayoral recall vote part of angry voter trend". Reuters. Retrieved 2014.
  5. ^ Dewan, Shaila (November 5, 2014). "Higher Minimum Wage Passes in 4 States; Florida Defeats Marijuana Measure". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014.
  6. ^ Morones, Alyssa (2013-08-22). "Ballotpedia Launches 'Wikipedia' for School Board Elections". Education Week. Retrieved 2013.
  7. ^ Chokshi, Niraj (November 5, 2018). "Voter Guide: How, When and Where to Vote on Tuesday". New York Times. Retrieved 2018.
  8. ^ Levine, Andrew (October 29, 2018). "New York Today: Why Don't We Have Early Voting?". New York Times. Retrieved 2018.
  9. ^ Darnay, Keith (November 3, 2014). "Find election info at the last minute". Bismarck Tribune. Retrieved 2014.
  10. ^ a b "Ballotpedia:About". Retrieved 2016.
  11. ^ Davis, Gene (August 6, 2008). "Denver's got issues: Ballot issues & you can learn more at". Denver Daily News. Denver. Retrieved 2011.
  12. ^ Lawrence, David G. (2009). California: The Politics of Diversity. Stamford, Connecticut: Cengage Learning. p. 83. ISBN 978-0-495-57097-4.
  13. ^ Raphael, JR (November 3, 2008). "Top 20 Election Day Web sites and online tools: The best resources -- everything from widgets to mobile alerts -- to take you through the election's end". InfoWorld. Retrieved 2011.
  14. ^ McGraw, Carol (2013-10-14). "Amendment 66 deemed a big issue nationally". Colorado Springs Gazette. Archived from the original on October 22, 2013. Retrieved 2014.
  15. ^ a b Roberts, Joni; Drost, Carol; Hoover, Steven. "Ballotpedia Internet Review". Association of College & Research Libraries. American Library Association. Retrieved 2014.
  16. ^ Spillman, Benjamin (2013-07-29). "Cost to appeal Las Vegas Planning Commission decision called prohibitive". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved 2013.
  17. ^ "About Sunshine Review on Ballotpedia". 2013-07-09.
  18. ^ "Twitter to add labels to U.S. political candidates". CBS. May 23, 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  19. ^ Scola, Nancy (May 23, 2018). "Twitter to verify election candidates in the midterms". Politico. Retrieved 2018.
  20. ^ Malone Kircher, Madison (November 2, 2018). "Hey, Alexa, Who Is Winning the Election in New York?". New York Magazine. Retrieved 2018.
  21. ^ "Nonprofit Group Offers Free Judicial Profiles Online at". Metropolitan News-Enterprise. 2009-12-21. Retrieved 2014.
  22. ^ Ambrogi, Robert (October 2010). "Crowdsourcing the Law: Trends and Other Innovations". Oregon State Bar Bulletin. Oregon State Bar. Retrieved 2014.
  23. ^ Pallay, Geoff. "Ballotpedia to absorb Judgepedia". Ballotpedia. Ballotpedia. Retrieved 2015.
  24. ^ Mahtesian, Charles (2012-10-16). "The best races you've never heard of". Politico. Retrieved 2014.
  25. ^ Peoples, Lee (2010-11-06). "The Lawyer's Guide to Using and Citing Wikipedia" (PDF). Oklahoma Bar Journal. 81: 2438. Retrieved 2014.
  26. ^ Davey, Chris; Salaz, Karen (November-December 2010). "Survey Looks at New Media and the Court". Journal of the American Judicature Society. 94 (3).
  27. ^ Meckler, Mark (2012). Tea Party Patriots: The Second American Revolution. Macmillan. p. 167. ISBN 0805094377.
  28. ^ a b "Judgepedia:About". Judgepedia. Lucy Burns Institute. Archived from the original on 25 June 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  29. ^ Phillips, Kate (2008-07-19). "The Sam Adams Project". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014.
  30. ^ "Pennsylvania and Wisconsin Have Federal Courts with Highest Vacancy Rates; across Country, 9.9% of Federal Judicial Posts Are Vacant". Telecommunications Weekly. Retrieved 2014.
  31. ^ Simon, Jeff (February 3, 2014). "Lost your bid to be an 'American Idol'? Try Congress. It's easier". Washington Post. Retrieved 2014.
  32. ^ Moore, Stephen (November 5, 2013). "Ten Election Day Ballot Measures". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2014.
  33. ^ Mahtesian, Charles (August 8, 2012). "A rough night for incumbents". Politico. Retrieved 2014.
  34. ^ Markon, Jerry (2011-01-18). "Slain federal judge John Roll was at the center of Arizona's immigration debate". Washington Post. Retrieved 2014.
  35. ^ Volokh, Eugene (2014-04-25). "Judge sues accuser for libel, demands to see accuser's evidence". Washington Post. Retrieved 2014.
  36. ^ Koppel, Nathan (2010-06-22). "New Orleans Judge Blocks Offshore Drilling Ban". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2014.
  37. ^ Shear, Michael (January 8, 2011). "Representative Giffords Shot". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014.
  38. ^ Seiler, John (2010-10-22). "John Seiler: Appellate judges aplenty on ballot". Orange County Register. Retrieved 2014.
  39. ^ "Guide to the nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court of the United States". Harvard Law School Library. Harvard Law School. Retrieved 2014.
  40. ^ "Elena Kagan". Law Library of Congress. Library of Congress. Retrieved 2014.
  41. ^ Wilson, Reid (May 7, 2015). "Study: State elections becoming less competitive". Washington Post. Retrieved 2015.
  42. ^ Wogan, J.B. (2017-11-06). "Unless You Went to Grad School, You Probably Won't Understand What's on Your Ballot". Retrieved .
  43. ^ Collins, Steve (2017-11-16). "Study: Maine ballot questions too confusing even for college graduates - Lewiston Sun Journal". Lewiston Sun Journal. Retrieved .
  44. ^ Conroy, Meredith; Nguyen, Mai; Rakich, Nathaniel (August 10, 2018). "We Researched Hundreds Of Races. Here's Who Democrats Are Nominating". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved 2018.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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