...more about Publius

Publius.org is a non-partisan, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization founded in 1996 to promote informed civic participation. Publius furthers that goal by developing better tools for citizens to access information. Publius began by consolidating election-related websites to make it easier for voters to find the election information they need.

Publius developed the world's first statewide website to allow residents to access voter registration status, polling location maps and online ballot generator.

Publius built the State of Michigan's first ballot generator website and wrote the U.S. Election Assistance Commission's best practices for voter information websites.

Publius continues to evolve. We pound the pavement, build partnerships, and consolidate as much infromation as we can before an election, and then we create an intuitive system to access it.

Based in Detroit, MI, Publius works on the Digital Divide as an obstacle in using the Internet to facilitate access to government. We have been deeply involved with government and developed grassroots programs that address this gap in access that exists even today.

Publius continues to grow and pursue the idea that every educated citizen strengthens our democracy.

Thank you for checking in.

Executive Director,
Vince Keenan


P.S. Why the name Publius?

Yes it's a funny name. We pronounce it "poo BLEE us" but we take what we can get. The name of this website was not selected for any association with the Federalist Society or the anonymity software.

"Publius" was a relatively common first name in Roman times, shared by the poets Ovid, and Virgil (who became more famous for their last names) and Hadrian, Emperor of the Romans 24-76 AD. The historical record is unclear as to which Publius was the first to earn the reputation as a champion for the people, but the association between "Publius" and statesmanship was widespread in the ancient world. It is not known whether the name was made famous by an individual or if it was an honorary name derived from the same root as "Public," bestowed upon an individual after he had already distinguished himself in public service.

The association of Publius with public service lived on (probably - because of - its resemblance to the Latin root of "public") and was referenced in Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus and Troilus and Cressida. Throughout history, the name Publius has continued to be associated with anything that may be within the public's best interest. Given its reputation the name Publius was often used as a pseudonym for authors of public statements who did not want their identity to cloud people's willingness to consider their ideas.

Publius also has a strong connection to the foundation of American representative democracy. Arguably the most famous Publius authors in history, (at least most important to US history) were Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay, who in 1787-88 published a series of 86 articles entitled "the Federalist." Collectively known as The Federalist Papers, Hamilton, Madison and Jay wrote in defense of the federal republic created by the new constitution. The goal of the Federalist was to convince New York to ratify the proposed United States Constitution drafted in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787, as a replacement for the less binding Articles of Confederation. All three authors were high-profile public figures who did not want personal relationships or feelings to spill over onto the arguments for adoption of the Constitution, so they tapped tradition and used Publius as a pen-name. Their efforts were successful, and New York joined the other states in becoming the United States of America. The Federalist Papers are considered some of the most elegant arguments for the establishment of our country. New York's ratification of the Constitution was considered the critical factor in the establishment of the constitutional republic in which we now live.

This Website taps into that same tradition. Inspired by the authors of The Federalist Papers, we present election information here without editorial bias, question or filters, allowing voters to be alone with the information from candidates who are trying to gain their support, and their own obligation to exercise their most fundamental right in our democracy--the right to vote.

 

 


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