I remember the first time I received a sample ballot in the mail. Ripping open the envelope, out poured pages and booklets filled with terms, candidates, and propositions I didn’t know much about. There was no way I could vote confidently without diving into what could be hours of research. Lucky for you, we put together a list of handy resources to use when preparing your ballot.
Start with Voterly’s Smart Ballot
If you’re a first-time voter or haven’t gotten around to doing the research, ballot fatigue can kick in big time. You lose patience or start to feel unsure about your choices as you make your way down the ballot. Avoid the unnecessary stress with Voterly’s Smart Ballot. With this voting tool you can:
- Preview which contests and measures will be on your local ballot
- Research politician profiles for candidates running in federal, state, and local elections
- Compare both sides of the ballot measures
- Share your ballot with your friends or print a copy to bring to the polls
- Encourage your community to get out & vote!
Review Your Official State Voter Guide
Usually a booklet will get mailed to you or you can find a digital version on your Secretary of State’s website. If you want to read more about a proposition, you’ll find a summary, what your yes/no vote means, and arguments for each side. State voter guides are nonpartisan so you may want to check out endorsements from the different parties next.
Check Out Party and Politician Endorsements
No matter what your political affiliation, checking out which candidates and propositions parties endorse can be a helpful starting point in figuring out how you want to vote. State and local party groups publish their voting guides (also referred to as “endorsements”) before an election. For example, here are a some 2020 voting guides from the Republican, Democrat, and Green parties.
You can also tap into how politicians you align with are voting. A personal endorsement from an elected official you trust, can really help when you’re stuck between candidates.
Consult Experts on the Issues
If there are a couple issues that are particularly important to you, there’s a good chance there are national, state, and local organizations who are on your side. Many of them will release candidate scorecards and endorsements leading up to the election that will help you determine how politicians rank on one or more issues. For example on the issue of abortion, a pro-life voter might want to consider Susan B. Anthony List’s National Pro-Life Scorecard while a pro-choice voter would review Planned Parenthood’s 2020 Scorecard.
Coming soon: Be on the lookout for Issue Ratings on Voterly! 👀
Get Your Facts Straight
It’s no secret that the political landscape in the United States is highly polarized and rampant with misinformation. Now that you’ve researched candidates’ backgrounds and who’s endorsed them, the next step would be to confirm whether what they say about their stances and track records are actually true. A few nonpartisan organizations who pride themselves on being fact-based are FactCheck.org and PolitiFact.