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Ballotpedia logo.png
Type of site
Available in English
Headquarters United States
Owner Lucy Burns Institute
Alexa rank Positive decrease 2,849 (November 2016)[1]
Commercial No
Launched May 30, 2007; 10 years ago (2007-05-30)[2]
Current status Active

Ballotpedia is a nonpartisan online political encyclopedia.[3][4][5][6][7] Founded in 2007, it covers American federal, state, and local politics, elections, and public policy.[8][9][10][11] Ballotpedia is sponsored by the Lucy Burns Institute, a nonprofit organization based in Middleton, Wisconsin, as of 2014, Ballotpedia employed 34 writers and researchers;[7] the website said it had an editorial staff of over 50 in 2016.[12]


Ballotpedia's stated goal is "to inform people about politics by providing accurate and objective information about politics at all levels of government."[12] The website "provides information on initiative supporters and opponents, financial reports, litigation news, status updates, poll numbers, and more."[13] It is a "community-contributed web site, modeled after Wikipedia" and "contains volumes of information about initiatives, referenda, and recalls."[14]

In 2008, InfoWorld called Ballotpedia one of the "Top 20 Election Day Web sites and online tools."[15]

According to the Colorado Springs Gazette, "Ballotpedia is a nonprofit wiki encyclopedia that uses nonpartisan collaboration to gather political info for sharing."[16]


Ballotpedia was founded by the Citizens in Charge Foundation in 2007.[17] 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.[17][18]

On July 9, 2013, Sunshine Review was acquired by the Lucy Burns Institute and merged into Ballotpedia.[19] Judgepedia was merged into Ballotpedia in March 2015.


Judgepedia was an online wiki-style encyclopedia covering the American legal system;[20][21] in 2015, all content from Judgepedia was merged into Ballotpedia.[22][23] It included a database of information on state and federal courts and judges.[24][25][26]

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."[27]

Judgepedia was sponsored by the Sam Adams Alliance in 2007, along with Ballotpedia and Sunshine Review;[28] in 2009, sponsorship of Judgepedia was transferred to the Lucy Burns Institute, which merged Judgepedia into Ballotpedia in March 2015.[27]

Judgepedia had a weekly publication titled Federal Courts, Empty Benches which tracked the vacancy rate for Article III federal judicial posts.[29]

Reception and studies[edit]

Ballotpedia has been mentioned in the Washington Post' politics blog, "The Fix";[30] in the Wall Street Journal;[31] and in Politico.[32]

Judgepedia has also been cited in the Washington Post[33] and its Volokh Conspiracy blog,[34] in the Wall Street Journal's Law Blog,[35] and in the New York Times' "The Caucus" politics blog.[36] The Orange County Register noted Judgepedia's coverage of Courts of Appeal and the Supreme Court.[37] 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.[38][39]

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.[40]


  1. ^ " Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2016-11-07. 
  2. ^ " WHOIS, DNS, & Domain Info - DomainTools". WHOIS. Retrieved 2016-11-12. 
  3. ^ Heinlein, Gary (October 9, 2014). "Peters tries to paint moderate image". Detroit News. Retrieved 2 December 2014. 
  4. ^ Sanders, Rebekah (July 1, 2014). "Arizona's District 7 hopefuls discuss voter turnout". Arizona Republic. Retrieved 2 December 2014. 
  5. ^ Seib, Gerald (2013-09-24). "How to Understand House Republicans". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 21 October 2013. 
  6. ^ Wilson, Reid; Chokshi, Niraj (August 27, 2014). "Ballot initiatives become pricey playgrounds of parties and corporations". GovBeat. The Washington Post. Retrieved 31 August 2014. 
  7. ^ a b Darnay, Keith (November 3, 2014). "Find election info at the last minute". Bismarck Tribune. Retrieved 2 December 2014. 
  8. ^ Chokshi, Niraj (September 9, 2014). "Tuesday is the last day of the state legislative primary season". Washington Post. Retrieved 8 December 2014. 
  9. ^ Wisniewski, Mary; Hendee, David (January 24, 2011). "Omaha mayoral recall vote part of angry voter trend". Reuters. Retrieved 8 December 2014. 
  10. ^ Dewan, Shaila (November 5, 2014). "Higher Minimum Wage Passes in 4 States; Florida Defeats Marijuana Measure". New York Times. Retrieved 8 December 2014. 
  11. ^ Morones, Alyssa (2013-08-22). "Ballotpedia Launches 'Wikipedia' for School Board Elections". Education Week. Retrieved 21 October 2013. 
  12. ^ a b "Ballotpedia:About". Retrieved 24 February 2016. 
  13. ^ Davis, Gene (August 6, 2008). "Denver's got issues: Ballot issues & you can learn more at". Denver Daily News. Denver. Retrieved April 27, 2011. 
  14. ^ Lawrence, David G. (2009). California: The Politics of Diversity. Stamford, Connecticut: Cengage Learning. p. 83. ISBN 978-0-495-57097-4. 
  15. ^ 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 April 27, 2011. 
  16. ^ McGraw, Carol (2013-10-14). "Amendment 66 deemed a big issue nationally". Colorado Springs Gazette. Archived from the original on October 22, 2013. Retrieved 11 August 2014. 
  17. ^ a b Roberts, Joni; Drost, Carol; Hoover, Steven. "Ballotpedia Internet Review". Association of College & Research Libraries. American Library Association. Retrieved 13 August 2014. 
  18. ^ Spillman, Benjamin (2013-07-29). "Cost to appeal Las Vegas Planning Commission decision called prohibitive". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved 21 October 2013. 
  19. ^ "Sunshine Review". 
  20. ^ "Nonprofit Group Offers Free Judicial Profiles Online at". Metropolitan News-Enterprise. 2009-12-21. Retrieved 11 August 2014. 
  21. ^ Ambrogi, Robert (October 2010). "Crowdsourcing the Law: Trends and Other Innovations". Oregon State Bar Bulletin. Oregon State Bar. Retrieved 12 August 2014. 
  22. ^ Pallay, Geoff. "Ballotpedia to absorb Judgepedia". Ballotpedia. Ballotpedia. Retrieved 8 September 2015. 
  23. ^ Mahtesian, Charles (2012-10-16). "The best races you've never heard of". Politico. Retrieved 11 August 2014. 
  24. ^ Peoples, Lee (2010-11-06). "The Lawyer's Guide to Using and Citing Wikipedia" (PDF). Oklahoma Bar Journal. 81: 2438. Retrieved 11 August 2014. 
  25. ^ Davey, Chris; Salaz, Karen (November–December 2010). "Survey Looks at New Media and the Court". Journal of the American Judicature Society. 94 (3). 
  26. ^ Meckler, Mark (2012). Tea Party Patriots: The Second American Revolution. Macmillan. p. 167. ISBN 0805094377. 
  27. ^ a b "Judgepedia:About". Judgepedia. Lucy Burns Institute. Retrieved 11 August 2014. 
  28. ^ Phillips, Kate (2008-07-19). "The Sam Adams Project". New York Times. Retrieved 11 August 2014. 
  29. ^ "Pennsylvania and Wisconsin Have Federal Courts with Highest Vacancy Rates; across Country, 9.9% of Federal Judicial Posts Are Vacant". Telecommunications Weekly. Retrieved 13 August 2014. 
  30. ^ Simon, Jeff (February 3, 2014). "Lost your bid to be an 'American Idol'? Try Congress. It's easier". Washington Post. Retrieved 25 March 2014. 
  31. ^ Moore, Stephen (November 5, 2013). "Ten Election Day Ballot Measures". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 25 March 2014. 
  32. ^ Mahtesian, Charles (August 8, 2012). "A rough night for incumbents". Politico. Retrieved 25 March 2014. 
  33. ^ Markon, Jerry (2011-01-18). "Slain federal judge John Roll was at the center of Arizona's immigration debate". Washington Post. Retrieved 11 August 2014. 
  34. ^ Volokh, Eugene (2014-04-25). "Judge sues accuser for libel, demands to see accuser's evidence". Washington Post. Retrieved 11 August 2014. 
  35. ^ Koppel, Nathan (2010-06-22). "New Orleans Judge Blocks Offshore Drilling Ban". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 11 August 2014. 
  36. ^ Shear, Michael (January 8, 2011). "Representative Giffords Shot". New York Times. Retrieved 11 August 2014. 
  37. ^ Seiler, John (2010-10-22). "John Seiler: Appellate judges aplenty on ballot". Orange County Register. Retrieved 11 August 2014. 
  38. ^ "Guide to the nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court of the United States". Harvard Law School Library. Harvard Law School. Retrieved 11 August 2014. 
  39. ^ "Elena Kagan". Law Library of Congress. Library of Congress. Retrieved 11 August 2014. 
  40. ^ Wilson, Reid (May 7, 2015). "Study: State elections becoming less competitive". Washington Post. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 

External links[edit]