It's Election Day here in the US of A! It's not often that the news cycle is consumed with the midterm elections, but this year everyone feels very strongly about the political climate and wants to engage at all levels of government. Below, I'm including a few helpful hints on how you can make sure you're able to intelligently exercise your civic duty!
Find your polling place
If you're registered to vote (and why wouldn't you be?), Google has released a tool that lets you enter your address and find your nearest polling place. An important thing about getting out to vote is...knowing where you need to go. This handy tool makes it easy to find out where you need to be. If you haven't registered to vote, check to see if your state offers same-day voter registration!
Who to vote for?
While we'd never tell you who to vote for, it's sometimes hard to figure out what the candidates actually believe in. Here are a few tools that will help you.
I Side With
I Side With is interesting because it provides a Buzzfeed-like quiz for political candidates and political parties. After answering some multiple-choice questions, the site builds a profile on how much the candidates match with your ideals.
BallotReady is similar to I Side With, but instead taking a quiz, you enter your address to see how the candidates falls on various issues.
Which ballot measures are meaningful to you?
While voting for the candidate whose stance on the issues matches your own is important, it's equally important to be aware of the ballot measures that you're voting for in this election. In the past, I tried eyeballing the issues and voting based on a vague guess, but it's important to come to the ballot educated. Here are a few tools I've used to check out the measures currently being voted on in this election.
Ballotpedia is a website with a lot of information, which can be tough to navigate. After clicking the link above, you'll be taken to the page in the image below. This page allows you to select your state and enter your address (pro tip: you don't have to enter your email address). Once done, it'll generate a sample ballot for you. As we're in headquartered Virginia, I've included a few examples of the measures on our ballot.
VoteSmart.org also has a handy tool for seeing what ballot measures are up for a vote. After selecting your state, it displays all the items on the ballot. My favorite thing about this site is that it will tell you the outcome of each measure, so you can check back to see whether it passed or not.
After you've exercised your civic pride and helped drive democracy forward, make it a point to seek out friends and enjoy each other's company. It's up to us to rebuild our trust in each other, and there's nothing like a cold beer (or cider, soda, seltzer...) to get it started.