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This is the sixth time we’ve released this data, and one trend has become clear: Government surveillance is on the rise. — Dorothy Chou, Senior Policy Analyst.
Read more in Nic Halverson’s blog: Government Surveillance On Citizens Rising"


Why do we have the Electoral College? Our Founding Fathers worried that even qualified citizens (generally white, male landowners) wouldn’t have the information necessary to make a truly informed decision.

So they decided to give the States the authority to appoint educated, well-read Electors to vote on behalf of their citizens. As the Constitution makes clear, the States elect the President and Vice-President, individuals don’t.

The Electoral College is managed by the Federal Register, part of the National Archives. You can learn more by visiting our website and watching our new video that explains how the votes actually get counted.

You can also like the Federal Register on Facebook or follow us on Twitter (@ElectoralCollge) for the latest updates.

Image: Tally of the 1824 Electoral College Vote, 02/09/1825 (ARC 306207)


do you support continuing the electoral college or dismantling it for a pure popular vote?

"It’s also important to note that income tax is just one of several federal taxes.

The payroll tax, which funds Medicare and Social Security, is another big source of revenue for the government. And most households that don’t pay income tax do pay payroll tax.”



The 47 Percent, In One Graphic

Mitt Romney’s comments regarding the 47 percent of Americans who pay no income tax is getting lots of attention today. Our colleague Mark Memmott explains the context.

Here’s a closer look at the numbers.

it’s not just a civil war day, but also  a “We the People” day!


September 17, 1787: The U.S. Constitution is adopted.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

As parks and public places decrease, giving way to malls, coffee houses and parking lots, the places where we can protest, soap box and gather are shrinking too.

Five Ways Free Speech Isn’t Free

The battle over free speech — hatched in the First Amendment to the Bill of Rights more than 200 years ago — continues to play out around the world in political conventions, courtrooms and the streets of the Middle East, where Libyan demonstrators protesting a U.S.-made anti-Muslim video killed the U.S. ambassador in Beghazi yesterday.

The incident puts into focus the ways different people view speech that can range from merely annoying to blasphemous.

In fact, the meaning of free speech has been evolving over time…

express yourself…

"Physiologically, if the sperm is in the vagina, a pregnancy can occur, regardless of the circumstances of how that sperm got there." — Dr. Melisa Holmes, an ob-gyn and founder of Girlology

Akin and Pregnancy: Yes, It Can Happen to Rape Victims

Rep. Todd Akin from Missouri recently suggested that a woman’s body can prevent pregnancy during rape.

When a viable sperm penetrates a viable egg inside a woman’s reproductive tract, the result is a fertilized egg that can then implant in the uterus. That fact of life is consistent regardless of how that sperm and egg met up, including whether or not the sperm was ejaculated during rape.

read more science…

One of the largest government programs in the world, turns 77 today. Originally entitled Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI), social security now encompasses a significant portion of the federal budget, and is estimated to keep 40-percent of all senior citizens out of poverty.


On August 14, 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act.

Later that day, the Washington Post proclaimed that the Social Security Act was the “New Deal’s Most Important Act…Its importance cannot be exaggerated …because this legislation eventually will affect the lives of every man, woman, and child in the country.”

This poster was distributed from November 1936- July 1937 during the initial issuance of Social Security numbers through U.S. post offices and with the help of labor unions.

More - Posters from the Social Security Archives