Nothing determines my vote like a good, old-fashioned political Facebook post.
Said no one ever.
Are you as sick of election season as I am? I’ve never been someone who is particularly interested in politics, and nothing interests me less than all the political discourse on social media. I’ve blocked many a politics-savvy well-meaning Facebook friend from my newsfeed because I find it so boring. While some people might consider my excessive posting of baby pictures to be obnoxious, I think the real crime is posting political news and updates. Perhaps my Facebook isn’t terribly intellectual, but hey, that’s not what it’s for, in my opinion.
So if Facebook isn’t your #1 deciding factor, how do you make up your mind about who to vote for? Do you ask your parents or friends? Do you vote with your party? Do you vote based on who has the best commercials? The best speech?
Well, Zing readers, it’s time to take a stand. Learn about the candidates and issues so you can decide how to vote and what you stand for. If you don’t already have your mind made up, or even if you do, take a minute to explore some of these resources so you can be as educated as possible before Election Day. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did!
Project Vote Smart – VoteSmart.Org is a great resource dedicated to strengthening access to information. According to their website, the project is completely nonpartisan and nonprofit, and funded solely through individual contributions and philanthropic foundations. No special interest groups here!
Vote Smart is great because it breaks down tons of political information into a very concise form. Click on issues, for example, and you’ll be able to select political issues by state. The issues are broken down by key votes and public statements. This website makes it really easy to understand the issues at hand and see what’s happening in the political sphere.
In my opinion, the best resource on this website is the “Vote Easy” tool, which allows you to see how closely a candidate’s views compare to your own. Clicking on a candidate will bring up a list of all the issues, and the candidate’s stance on that issue. The next column allows you to score each issue yourself, and determine how important that issue is to you.
Vote Smart provides further detail about candidates including a complete biography, recent public statements, speeches, interest group ratings, and campaign finances. If you’re looking for a comprehensive website that’ll tell you everything you need to know, look no further than Project Vote Smart.
Politics1 – While not quite at the same level as Project Vote Smart, Politics1 offers a user-friendly directory to any campaign website you’re looking for. Clicking on “Presidential Candidates,” for example, will bring up a list of everyone who’s on the 2012 presidential ballot, and clicking on a specific candidate will direct you to their campaign website. If you’re looking to learn more about a specific candidate, this is a good resource to direct your search.
CNN Politics – Looking for up-to-the-minute political news and information? While providing a lot of detailed information about the candidate’s political stances and background, CNN’s Election Center also provides a little bit more of a “personal” dimension with regard to the candidates. Candidate backgrounds include the standard statistic information, but they also share the latest tweets, quotes, and stories about the candidates. CNN’s Election Center also includes information on debates, polls, primaries and caucuses. This is a good resource for anyone who is interested in learning about the issues and other current political news.
New York Times Election 2012 – The New York Times doesn’t provide as much detailed information about the candidates themselves, but focuses on the campaign trail as a whole. Candidate details include the candidate’s latest news from the campaign, and a summary of the candidate’s chances at winning the election. The New York Times goes into more detail about campaign spending than anything else, but it can be important to see just what kind of groups are funding all the political action.
Voter411 – Do you need more information about registering to vote, absentee ballots, election dates, and more? Voter411 is the spot for that. Launched by the League of Women Voters Education Fund, Voter411 is dedicated to providing non-partisan information about voting to the public. It’s a great resource if you need to find your polling place, learn how to register to vote, or are looking for basic, unbiased information about candidates.
With just over a month to go, it’s time to kick your quest for election knowledge into high gear. Start by visiting one of these websites, and make sure you’re registered to vote!