by Julie Boler
this year? Follow these four
(To participate in the profound process of sustaining a living democracy,
you need to know three things, and do one thing.)
Where to vote, who’s running, and which way to vote. (Follow steps 1-3.)
1. WHERE TO VOTE: Search: "(your county, state) elections board". Examples: “Duval County, FL elections board” or “Clark County, Nevada elections board”. Here you will find the location and hours of your polling place, your state’s ID requirements, and your assigned congressional and judicial districts. You will also find a sample ballot. This can be enormously helpful for following the two steps below.
2. WHO’S RUNNING: You may have decided which presidential candidate to vote for. But your sample ballot will list other elected offices you’ll be voting to fill. This year’s ballot may also include a local referendum, asking the public to decide an issue like whether to fund a new civic project, or allow certain development plans to go forward. Familiarize yourself with the questions, and use step three to find answers. Then you’ll enter the voting booth with confidence in your opinions.
3. WHO AND WHAT TO VOTE FOR: it’s easy to locate trustworthy advice about unfamiliar races and ballot measures, even at the last minute.
a. Search: “voter guide” or “2016 endorsements” on the websites of organizations you personally trust. Guided by the issues you care about, you can find voting recommendations made by advocacy groups from the Sierra Club to the Chamber of Commerce to the NAACP. Look for endorsements made by newspapers and other news sources you find credible and reliable. Check the official website of your preferred political party.
b. Search: "(your state) 2016 election endorsements (keyword)”. For keyword, plug in anything from an individual candidate’s name, to terms like “teachers”, “Christian”, "small business", or “LGBTQ”. You can find issue-specific endorsements for many races.
c. Search: For background on ballot measures found on your sample ballot, search with the name of the referendum followed by “editorials” or “opinion”.
Show up on Tuesday!
We are so fortunate in the US: Just by taking these small, doable steps every election, we each carry our own individual share of the burden of living in a free society. Consider the alternative! Vote!