WASHINGTON (Reuters) - In the race for the White House money and voters are key, yet a new study found few of those running in the 2008 presidential race are using their Web sites to provide ready information on how to register to vote.
The Internet has become a major force in the 2008 campaign, with candidates using it as a primary tool for launching their presidential races and for raising millions of dollars, but rarely for signing up voters.
“Perhaps the most fundamental grassroots activity of all, registering people to vote, is lacking here,” said a study of campaign Web sites released on Thursday by the Project for Excellence in Journalism.
Democratic Sens. Hillary Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois make it easy to register, with links on their front page menus to www.govote.org, which has a voter registration application users must print, fill out and mail.
Struggling Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona has the most comprehensive information on how to register to vote, with details for rules of each state, however that information is a layer deep under his “Action Center” listed on his home page.
Former Democratic Sen. John Edwards’ campaign has a voter registration link in its “Young America For Edwards” section but it is two layers deep from the front page. Long-shot Republican John Cox has a link to a form on his front page.
Most candidates use their sites to list their positions on key issues, solicit volunteers and money for their campaigns and some include Web logs, or blogs, about their daily travels on the campaign trail.
Information on voter registration could not be found on the Web sites of other candidates, including former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, the Republican front-runner, and Democratic New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson.
Their campaigns did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Some 176.2 million Americans were registered to vote in the 2004 presidential election but that number dropped to 172.8 million in the 2006 congressional elections, according to a report by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.
Both the Republican and Democratic National Committees have information on registering to vote on their Web site front pages.