Estimated reading time: 3 minute(s)
It’s election time (or nearly so) and that means we American citizens of voting age get to head out and browse a sheet full of names and parties—many of which we’ve never heard of until stepping into the voting booth—and then flip some switches and pull a big lever in order to fulfill our duties as the electorate. Problem is, what good does it do to vote for people whom you do not know? How can they represent you? And even worse (in my opinion) what good does it do to vote for a particular candidate just because they slapped a party name on their name tag?
That’s not how it should be. It’s our responsibility to know whom we are voting for, and why we are voting for them, and how they will represent us on local, state, and national levels.
It really is up to us.
So I’ve been thinking, I really need to set up a website where I can post information on all our local candidates, so that we all can read up on every candidate and, after knowing the facts, we can make a fair and impartial assessment and choose the candidate that best represents what we would want our government to look like and to do. That’s how it should work, anyway. But I’m just one guy… how could I have the time to look up all the candidates even just in the elections I can vote for, let alone the rest of the country?
So maybe a wiki of some sort? But… that’s still a bunch of work. (I am having this idea way too late, I suppose…)
Enter Google. After a quick search for “learn about candidates” I discovered VoteSmart.org. I don’t know much about them yet, but they do go out of their way on the About Us page to say they are independent, impartial, non-partisan, and they have good and equal representation from conservative and liberal viewpoints.
Cool. That’s just what I was looking for!
So I’ll see what else I can find, but for now, have a look at VoteSmart. (And maybe see if you can help them out. They are all volunteer and at a quick glance it looked like they are always grateful for help)
They also have a fun tool called “Vote Easy“. An interactive, Flash site that makes the learning more fun. You put in what you think about a dozen or so key issues (and how important they are to you) and then it helps match you with candidates, based on what is publicly know about them.
Please educate yourself. And, do so directly from the sources, not from political ads, talk shows, magazines, cable news channels, or other such secondary sources. I can’t emphasize that enough. We have, in general, gotten very lazy about this. Take the time to be a responsible, voting citizen. The resources are available to us, and you can vote with a bit more of an easy conscience when you know you’ve had your say—and you actually know what you said.
Voting day is just two weeks away. So get to work! 🙂