Election Day Online
All too frequently, voting on Election Day is done in confusion and uncertainty. Sure, we all know the big-ticket elections like the Presidential races, and possibly some of the simpler gubernatorial races, but when you step up to the voting booth with your ballot, there’s likely to be a lot on there that you did not hear much about. The less publicized races (including district attorney, city councilor, or even town clerk) and the ballot questions are given some amount of support in voter packets, however all those can be often ignored or fail to discuss the issues in depth. Thankfully, the Internet provides a vast amount of assistance in preparing for Election Day.
The first and easiest bit of information available online that can help on Election Day is your proper polling place. Google Maps will now actually allow you to type in your address and not only find your polling place’s address, but also directions to that location. Brief information on big races is also represented there along with the proper contact information for local and state election offices. Your state election office may also provide this information on an election information website, that will also likely consist of additional information about the candidates up for election.
Digging down a little deeper is required to obtain additional information about the various candidates. Initial investigation will yield their campaign websites at 1st, that can be solid places to being looking for details but that are also very much public relations attempts by the campaign staff. That you can get a good general idea for a candidate’s stance on the issues on an official website, but further investigation is definitely necessary as a way to get the whole story. If you’re examining an incumbent candidate’s position on the issues, OnTheIssues (ontheissues.org) provides a substantial amount of detail on elected officials’ voting record across a wide variety of issues. For challengers without an established voting record, a little more investigation is necessary and can require some extensive searching. Relevant news sites may help provide the candidates’ recorded statements, although these types of need to be taken with a grain of salt due to the likely bias of the hosting organization.
Ballot questions, initiatives, and propositions can be also very often confusing to absolutely everyone who hasnt researched them prior to voting. The text of these kinds of is often so legalistic that its nearly impossible to make an immediate judgment about them. Thankfully, in addition to the somewhat helpful voter information packets mailed prior to the election resources exist online to aid here as well. Project Vote Smart (votesmart.org) details all state ballot questions with not only the normal text of the questions, but also simplified breakdowns thereof. Vote Smart also provides details on the big supporters of each side of any given ballot question, as well as notable statements made about the question.
When investigating ballot questions or candidates, however, you must exercise some caution. It may be tempting to simply head straight to Wikipedia for information on a candidate, however doing so is risky when it comes to the quality of information presented. Politics being the inflammatory subject that it is, its entirely possible that your visit to a candidates entry can coincide with vandalism on that same entry, that would in turn provide you with potentially false information. In addition, visiting only one source for information on a political matter is ill-advised. As opposed to depend on a single source, visit several different sources and form your own opinion based on what you find.
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