As media consumers, we seek information about Democratic and Republican candidates and their platforms via Internet searches, newspaper stories, magazines articles, and television broadcasts and debates. It's a LONG election cycle here in the United States and voters have both the privilege and responsibility to pay attention and to make an informed decision about the best candidate to lead our country.
How to Research Candidates (Source: www.usa.gov)
When evaluating candidates for public office, it's important to decide what strengths you're looking for in a candidate, to research their positions on the issues, to learn about their leadership abilities, and to recognize any distortions in the information and opinions they express.
Watch the Debates
Watching debates is an important way to learn more about the candidates and the issues before the election, so you can cast an informed vote. At the same time, you need to view debates with a careful eye to get the most information. Learn what to look for before, during and after a debate.
Research Candidates' Views
Many candidates running for office will have a website that states their views and positions on various subjects. In addition, voting guides may provide information about the views of a candidate or answers to certain questions. Various sources, such as issue-specific organizations and newspapers, produce these guides. The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, produces an online voter guidewhere you can find a sample ballot, candidates’ answers to specific questions, and links to the candidates’ websites.
You can also contact the candidate’s campaign or local office for more information.
Research a Candidate Who is Holding or Has Held an Office
A candidate’s voting history is public. If the candidate is running for federal office as a Representative or Senator, you can find their voting record on Congress.gov. For those who have held state office, you can contact your state legislature website.
For candidates holding county or local offices, contact your local government.
For information about where and how to vote, or for ballot measures in your state, contact your state election office.
Visit www.usa.gov for voting registration information and deadlines, early voting dates, polling place hours and locations and much more! The site includes links with specific voter information for every state in our nation.
I watch both the Democratic and the Republican debates and then visit fact checking sites to review candidate content accuracy. There are many such fact checking sites on the Internet including www.factcheck.org and www.politifact.com and their Truth-O-Meter. In addition, most major news outlets have fact checking capabilities as well.
Take the time to question what you are hearing and seeing, fact check for candidate statement accuracy, get informed and involved and remember that it is a privilege and a responsibility to exercise your right to vote. God Bless America!
Donna LaRoche, M.Ed., Professional Organizer Serving Cape Cod, MetroWest and Eastern Massachusetts Contact: 617.640.2366 www.energizeandorganize.com
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