The Internet has become an increasingly important tool in the political arena. It has allowed candidates to reach wider audiences than before at a fraction of the cost. The Internet has also given a voice to political groups that otherwise would have a hard time disseminating their ideas. However, it also has raised some questions of ethical interest. In this project, we intend to examine the following issues concerning political action on the internet:
1. Non-partisan organizations like Project Vote Smart are making reliable candidate information available to the individual. How does the wealth of political data on the internet influence voters and how have campaigns targeted capitalized on this new medium?
2. 527’s are independent political organizations found on the internet that are loosely regulated by the FEC and raise millions of dollars for political purposes. How do these organizations raise money, who donates, and what do they spend it on?
3. With so much money and power during campaign periods it is important to find out who runs these 527 organizations and how they are held accountable for their organization’s actions. What is the government doing to regulate these organizations?
4. The Internet is widespread but not quite universal. How are voters who are not “plugged-in” affected by the shift of political discourse to the Internet?
5. The Internet contains a treasure trove of information. However, much of
this information is unverified and can be misleading to voters. How do
credibility issues affect the nature of online politics?