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."[17]


Ballotpedia was founded by the Citizens in Charge Foundation in 2007.[18] 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.[18][19]

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


Judgepedia was an online wiki-style encyclopedia covering the American legal system.[20][3] In 2015, all content from Judgepedia was merged into Ballotpedia.[3][3] It included a database of information on state and federal courts and judges.[3][3][3]

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."[25]

Judgepedia was sponsored by the Sam Adams Alliance in 2007, along with Ballotpedia and Sunshine Review.[3] In 2009, sponsorship of Judgepedia was transferred to the Lucy Burns Institute, which merged Judgepedia into Ballotpedia in March 2015.[25]

Judgepedia had a weekly publication titled Federal Courts, Empty Benches which tracked the vacancy rate for Article III federal judicial posts.[3]

Reception and studies

Ballotpedia has been mentioned in the Washington Post' politics blog, "The Fix";[3] in the Wall Street Journal;[4] and in Politico.[4]

Judgepedia has also been cited in the Washington Post[4] and its Volokh Conspiracy blog,[4] in the Wall Street Journal's Law Blog,[4] and in the New York Times' "The Caucus" politics blog.[4] The Orange County Register noted Judgepedia's coverage of Courts of Appeal and the Supreme Court.[4] 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.[4][4]

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.[4]