First off, this is not a political post in the sense that I tell you what my opinions are about different candidates. This post is just to give you tips and ideas to help you prepare to vote in the upcoming election. I know that there are issues with the electoral college and such with voting for presidents, but the upcoming election has a lot of local things, in most places, also that you need to vote on. These smaller voting issues is really where you make a difference!
While you may have decided on who you want to vote for as president, Clinton or Trump (or other), many of us go into our polling place a bit blind to the other people who are running for different offices and to the different amendments and propositions that are on the ballot. Taking a bit of time to do your research ahead of time can help you be prepared and not just “guess” (lots of folks do that) when you go and vote on November 8. You have time now to learn about what you are voting on and how you feel about it. Voting is a huge privilege in my book – I mean it wasn’t until 1920 that women even had the right to vote in the United States – crazy! Please take your ability to vote seriously and do your due diligence in doing your homework before you walk into your polling place on November 8 (or any voting day).
Tips for Preparing to Vote
- Sample Ballots
Many county election boards are online now and can provide you with a sample ballot of the upcoming election. Start there and see if it is available. Local newspapers may also print sample ballots. If you cannot find one, call your local board of elections and ask them where you can get one. This lets you see exactly what you will be voting on in the upcoming election and do your research beforehand.
- Research on Candidates
Again, the presidential race is forefront these days, but there are lots of other people running for things like senators, governors, representatives, county councils, and the like. Chances are you may not have heard of any of the people running in some of these races. If you are staunch in voting with a political party, that makes it easier for you. However, I would still encourage everyone to look at each of the candidates to see if you agree with them on issues and pick the best person for the job, not just based on their political party.
- Bypass the Negative
Sadly, around the country candidates tend to attack one another on moral issues or half truths rather than focus on their own views and standings on issues. Try to ignore those negatives and really look to see which candidate best fits with your views.
Votesmart.org is a good general place to start with your research to find out what the candidates views on issues are, even amendments for states and such. FactCheck.org is another great places to research to see what talking points are actually true and which are false. I also like the TV show, Meet the Press, because they do talk about both sides of the issues.
- Create a Cheat Sheet
It’s not really cheating, but once you see your sample ballot write down who and what you want to vote for and take it with you to your polling place. This makes things much easier for voters. I always do this and it has made things so much easier for me. I actually print out a sample ballot for Hubby (and this year Caitlan too) for his homework also – if he does it, I don’t know, but at least I tried to help.
Do you plan on voting in the upcoming election? Why or why not? What research do you do ahead of time to prepare to vote?