KWWL.com Extra: Top 10 Election sites - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

KWWL.com Extra: Top 10 Election sites

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by Jenn Jarvis

WATERLOO (KWWL) -- An online search for "election" turns up more than 200 million results. And with so many options it can be hard to find the most useful or interesting.

After months of sifting through the online mess, here's my top picks based on their usefulness and creativity.

1. Iowa Secretary of State
The first step in the election process is to make sure you're registered to vote. On the SOS site you can enter your name and address and it will tell you if you are actually registered. And if you're not, there's plenty of information on how to change that.

2. Opensecrets.org
Opensecrets.org is my favorite source when it comes to the campaign money trail. The non-profit takes raw data from the Federal Election Commission and makes it accessible. There's also plenty of charts and graphs that group the information in an often enlightening way.

3. IECDB Database
While OpenSecrets tracks things from a federal level, the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board tracks the same information locally. You can search to see who your neighbor is donating money to and check to see how much your state senator spends on his cell phone bill.

4. Dipity
If you don't have time to check 20 sites each day, Dipity will give you a snapshot of every tweet, blog, photo and video clip.

5. Versionista
Web sites are constantly changing, and the official sites of John McCain and Barack Obama are no different. But, now you can track those changes thanks to Versionista. Their election blog puts the versions side by side highlighting changes on everything from McCain's policy on space exploration to Michelle Obama's biography.

6. C-SPAN
If you're getting ready for the final debate or want to catch up on the previous ones, check out C-SPAN's debate hub. You can watch video of the debate, track blog comments, Twitter posts and even see a timeline of what issues the candidates cover.

7. Twitter Election feed
Even if you've never used Twitter before, their election feed provides a running commentary on the election from users across the country. The feed pulls every Twitter update (a short update about what you're doing at the moment) with an election theme and puts it in one spot. It's particularly as a side companion while watching the debate.

8. Glassbooth Quiz
Once you've done your research, it's time to pick a candidate and Glassbooth.com wants to help. Their election quiz allows you to rate issues based on points. Then, you take a quiz based on the issues you chose. It then shows you what candidates you agree with and breaks it down by issue. It also provides quotes and video clips to show exactly what the candidates had to say. And unlike many quizzes, it includes independent candidates.

9. Predict the President
It's a numbers game when it comes to electoral votes. Now you can change the map to reflect your predicts and show who will actually win. It allows you to play out a scenario then start all over to see how one state can change the election.

10. Iowa Electronic Markets
The Iowa Electronic Market uses a virtual stock market to predict real world events, including the election. Even if you don't quite understand how it works, the breakdown is interesting to watch.

Online Reporter: Jenn Jarvis

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