Let's face it, fourth grade and that lesson about how a bill becomes a law were a long time ago. Whether election 2000 left you curious about exactly how the electoral college works, or you're not quite sure of the difference between a primary and a caucus -- the links below should help. While you're here, check out our tips and tools for how to be a more active citizen and voter: learn how to track legislation, research campaign finance data, check the facts in candidates' public statements, and more.
How Government Works
How the Election Works
Vote-Smart: Government 101
This primer is intended to help refresh your knowledge of American politics by providing useful information about Congress, political parties, campaign finance, and much more.
The American President
A fascinating look at the day-to-day operational requirements of the most powerful position in the land.
The National Archives: Charters of Freedom
From the Constitution to the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights, read the blueprints of our government.
The White House
A searchable Web site for all press releases and official announcements from the White House
Thomas: U.S. Congress on the Internet
The Library of Congress' searchable information about the U.S. Congress, the legislative process and the National Archive documents.
U.S. House of Representatives
Up-to-the-hour reports on events on the House floor, complete roll call voting reports and extensive information about bills and resolutions being considered in Congress.
Information on how to contact your Senators as well as extensive background information on the history of the Senate.
The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer: Primary System backgrounder
Find out about the differences between caucuses and primaries, which primaries are likely to be most important this election season, what role political parties play in an election and more.
FEC: How the Electoral College works
The Federal Election Commission explains all about how the Electoral College works and how it came to be (PDF).
FEC: Voting methods.
Remember all the fuss about chads in 2000? Learn more about the different methods Americans use to vote and how many people use each method. (Go to the bottom of the page)
Track campaign financing
This Federal Election Commission site tracks all the contributions to political candidates. Find out who gave what to whom.
NOW with Bill Moyers explains how to follow the progress of a bill that is important to you.
Contact the United Way, your church, mosque or synagogue, or VolunteerMatch.com.
Watch the Candidate Debates
Use our election calendar to find out when the next debate will take place.
Read Between the Lines
Learn how to dissect a political ad, interpret a debate, analyze a poll and more!
Research your ballot
Find information about your local and national officials and/or a particular candidate.
Learn the lingo
If you're confused by the political jargon of this election season, consult our glossary featuring over 100 terms. (For help with economic policy speak in particular, check out Auburn University's glossary of economic terms. )
Check the facts
Ever wonder if the statistics cited by candidates are actually true? Use this site from the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg Public Policy Center to evaluate the factual accuracy of candidates' ads and statements.