OK, You’ve Got Your Ballot: Now What?

Non Partisan Election Info to Help You Voice Your Vote

© Bibit Unggul/Shutterstock.com

[TLDRs: Jump to Non Partisan Guide links at the bottom of this post.]

SO much has happened since my last post, especially here in the U.S. A global pandemic has infected millions and killed hundreds of thousands of people. The publicized murders of black Americans have forced a spotlight on the racial injustices baked into our country’s foundation. We’ve lost Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a powerful advocate for women’s rights. Our poor leadership has prioritized hate, greed, and ignorance over the health and financial wellbeing of the nation’s citizens. It’s been…a real shit show.

As for ethimode, quite honestly, the busyness of my last year in school, along with the fact that I haven’t been buying clothes lately has left me little to share over the last year. While I do have some ideas in the works, today I want to focus on voting. More specifically, I want to talk about how to vote–not the signing up part. I mean how to determine your best choices for candidates and policies.

I’m sure almost everyone has an idea of who they’re choosing for President. Great. How do you feel about the other candidates running for your state and local governments? What measures do you support? I admit, when I was younger, I only voted in Presidential elections. I eventually realized this wasn’t the best way to participate in our democracy. While voting for President is important, making informed choices on who else represents you is key to putting your political beliefs into action.

I’m sure plenty of people–even many young voters–are actively informed on their local races and that’s great. This post is for those who are ready to vote, but need a little help with making informed decisions. So, you’re registered, you have your sample or mail-in ballot, now what? Every election, I find a few resources are key to helping me have confidence in my vote. Yeah, it takes a little reading and some research, but if I have to time to watch countless Korean dog grooming videos, I got time to look up what I’ll be voting on.

First, I suggest reading through the information likely to come with your mail-in/sample ballot. There once was a local election where the ballot guide listed one candidate’s platform on space aliens. Not really my thing. [This is also a good reason why you may not want to vote for anyone at random.]

Second, I find a guides with my local races and measures and spend some time going over what lines up with my ideals. Here you’ll find platform statements, candidate Q&A’s, and which organizations support each candidate and measure. Some guides are skewed in favor of a particular party, so keep that in mind. I prefer info from non-partisan organizations, so that’s what I’m sharing here (though some of these orgs may be considered slightly skewed). If you are going to vote in-person, fill in your sample ballot and bring it with you.

Lastly, know you’re doing the best you can. Sometimes, these choices aren’t clear-cut, and I just have to go with what I feel is best. I’ll be real honest: I usually don’t start this process until the week before I vote, and I may spend up to a few hours on research. Some may say that’s not enough, but it’s what works for me. Also, with the uncertainty of this election, I suggest mail-in voters to do this ASAP. The important thing here is that you’re working towards being an informed voter, and that’s something to be proud of.

Here are a few non-partisan voting guides:

As always, though I try to be honest and accurate as possible, what I present here are my opinions. There are more options than what I’ve listed and some may work better for you. Do your research! Let me know in the comments of other resources you recommend or if this post helped you!

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