| »

Virginia Public Access Project,

VPAP

The Virginia Public Access Project is a non-profit, non-partisan organization which strives to provide information to the public about Virginia campaign donations through computer technology. Their website offers maps of where legislator’s donations come from, the size of their donations, and lists of contributors. There is also information on lobbyists, donors, vendors, and committees. In addition to using the wealth of information on this site, students may benefit from comparing it to the Virginia State Board of Elections Campaign Finance Website. How does a private group’s portrayal of campaign financing differ from the government website?

GovSpot: Virginia State Government Agencies,

GovSpot.com

GovSpot.com offers an index of Virginia government websites. Categories include branches of government, government agencies, elections, law, licenses, taxes, and travel. Although not eye-catching, this list is an excellent resource for anyone doing research on different aspects of government.

Virginia Voter Registration,

Virginia State Board of Elections

The Virginia State Board of Elections publishes voter registration information. Eligible citizens can use this site to register to vote, and get involved in the political process. Even those who can’t vote may use this website as a way to encourage friends of family members to vote.

Virginia Campaign Finance Website,

Virginia State Board of Elections

This website offers government-mandated disclosure information for campaign finance contributions to candidates for Virginia state and local elections. Members of the public can view sometimes-surprising information about who made large contributions to Virginia candidates and political committees. PACs range from the Cigar Association of Virginia to the Virginia Taxicab Association. This website raises questions about the role of PACs and campaign finance, and can lead to discussions of these issues.

Capitol Classroom: Games,

Virginia General Assembly

Capitol Classroom’s Games is a series of printable classroom games and classroom activities for students in grades K-12. Many games for younger students can be adapted for an older audience. A particularly relevant activity for older students is the Civics I.Q. test, which quizzes users on their participation in different levels of their civic involvement. This game shows that civic involvement is more than just voting in an election.

How to Track a Bill: Virginia Legislative Assembly,

Virginia General Assembly

The Virginia General Assembly has provided a guide on how to track a bill for students in grades 9–12. The guide provides definitions of common terms, such as “standing committee” and “HB.” Ultimately, the guide outlines how to use the Legislative Information System to access anything from bills to daily floor calendars from the Virginia General Assembly. This website is an excellent tool to find out the day-to-day actions of the Virginia General Assembly, as well as how upcoming legislation may affect everyday people.

Congress.org,

Roll Call, Capitol Advantage

Congress.org offers headlines of current bills in the US Congress, as well as a public forum for constituents to discuss those issues. Users can search many features of the website by state. One interesting feature is a list of letters from Virginia constituents to elected officials submitted through Congress.org. Another is contact information for local officials in Virginia. This website is a gateway to find out what’s happening in government, find out what other people are saying about it, and send your own message to the people who represent you in government.

Rock the Vote,

Rock the Vote

Founded nearly twenty years ago, Rock the Vote works to involve students in the electoral process through many methods, including contemporary music, with artists ranging from Madonna to Snoop Dogg. There are also guides to voter registration campaigns, and even a Twitter feed. In addition, the website offers guides on how to mobilize young voters. Rock the Vote has remarkably flexible materials to involve youth in the electoral process at the state, national, or local level.

Term Limits,

Founded in 1908, the National Governors Association is the collective voice of the nation's governors. The NGA prepared this document, which compares term limits for governors throughout the U.S.

What is the term limit for Virginia's…

Thomas Jefferson Center on Free Expression,

Thomas Jefferson Center

The Thomas Jefferson Center, in Charlottesville, Va., is an organization that promotes freedom of speech through legal cases, education, and the arts. The website offers podcasts, such as Thomas Madison Lives. Another key feature is legal briefs from Thomas Jefferson Center cases, including Commonwealth of Virginia v. Black. This 26-page court document may seem intimidating, but the language is accessible to the general reader. The case addresses whether burning a cross on someone’s lawn can be punishable as a form of intimidation, or if cross burning is a form of free speech protected by the First Amendment.