Elections are more than just the races at the very top (President, Governor, etc.).
Every race, from Senator to local councils, is important, and local races may actually have a more immediate and direct effect on you and your family than the more prominent races.
It is important to be an informed voter, but it can also be overwhelming when presented with many races where you aren't familiar with the candidates and do not know where they stand on the issues that are important to you.
This is why researching your ballot before election day is so important. It gives you time to see who is running, where they stand, who most closely aligns with your values, and what issues voters will have a direct say in.
Although one does not need to join or label themselves as a member of specific party in order to vote, knowing what political parties most closely align with your values can help you know where candidates stand more quickly.
The website "I Side With" offers an in-depth questionnaire of social, economic, and other political issues. At the end of the questionnaire, you will be shown how closely your views line up with the different parties of our political system.
Some candidates have been around for many years, while others are virtually unknown prior to an election.
Non-partisan websites, such as Ballotpedia.org and Vote411, compile information about the candidates for each race, including policy statements, political history, campaign information, endorsements, public statements, and more.
In addition to candidates for office, ballots can also contain referendums and ballot measures, putting a question directly to the voters.
These questions may be anything from enacting a new sales tax to requiring childhood vaccinations without exemption.
These ballot questions are often long and may be difficult to understand if trying to read through them quickly on election day. Reading the proposed measures and understanding what a vote of yes or no means, before going to the polls, makes for a much more efficient election day experience.
The sites below allow you to search for your ballot before election day and see not only which candidates will be running for office, but also any measures up for a vote. They will often include a simplified explanation of each and what a vote for or against will mean.
Immense amounts of information, differing opinions, and often fake news come at us during elections. With so much at stake, every side wants to get their ideas heard and to have as much face time with voters as possible.
A candidate's political voting record will be minutely examined, and statements may be taken out of context or framed in a biased fashion. Some sites and individuals will deliberately share misleading or false information to sway people to vote for or against a candidate.
Fact checking information about a candidate is therefore incredibly important to making the most informed decision when you go to the polls.
The links below are non-partisan websites that seek to provide factual, unbiased information.
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