I am not the first person, nor the last person, who will tell you about the importance of voting. No matter what positions are being voted on, what party you belong to, or who you’re voting for – your voice is needed.
Voting isn’t always easy, though, especially for political elections like the ones coming up on Tuesday. A few years back I remember getting my absentee ballot for New Hampshire and staring blankly at the page, wondering who are all these people?! I ended up Googling most and making the best, least-informed decisions I could.
That didn’t feel like a solid vote from me. Unfortunately, I am not yet eligible to vote in California. I’ll be sitting midterms out, but I wanted to become more familiar with who is running, what the issues are, and where I can find some unbiased information about the race as a whole.
A simple Internet search of “guide to voting” turned up pages like Election 2014: A Guide by NBC Los Angeles, a couple of pages about voting rights, and the Christian Voter Guide. Hm…
If you’ll recall, I touted The Daily Skimm as a great website/daily email list that brought news right to your inbox. I remembered that about a week ago, they included a guide to midterm elections, but I hadn’t followed up on it.
On their page, they summarize why these midterm elections are important (the GOP could regain control of both the House and the Senate), and what some of the key issues are (economy, immigration, foreign policy, etc). They didn’t have any particular news about California, but they did have a little blurb about New Hampshire.
What about my other favorite, NPR? On their main website, a brief search only turned up articles about the bleak history of midterm elections, and what’s to come. I turned back to Google, typed in “guide to voting California”, and selected a link called “Voter’s Edge” that promised to provide me with a guide to who’s running and what they stand for.
After selecting my state and county, the site pulled up a list of candidates and their parties. I went for the most obvious – governor. I selected the current governor, Jerry Brown, and it pulled up all of his stats: who is funding him, his political experience, and his top priorities.
Some information was missing, such as Governor competitor Neel Kashkari’s political experience. I was sure to check the ‘About Us’ page on the site, to see who was behind the information. It is a project of MapLight, a nonpartisan research organization dedicated to “[revealing] money’s influence on politics in US Congress and the California and Wisconsin state legislatures”.
I’d have to dig a little deeper into this one, but it was a great starting point for beginning voter research. My last stop was on the page of the California General Election Official Voter Information Guide, on the California Secretary of State’s webpage. There, you could find a PDF that included the candidates and their statements, as well as a list of propositions that will be voted on. Again, this website was missing chunks of information, as candidates like the men running for Governor hadn’t provided a statement.
Wherever you go for voter information, always be sure to double check where your information comes from, and be aware of inherent biases that might be present. And most importantly, be sure to vote!