With the US elections looming and campaign advertising at a high-pitched screech, it might be hard to block out the noise long enough to get basic information about how and where to actually vote. If you’re unsure where to go or don’t know the hours your polling place is open, you can usually find out quickly. Just run a quick Web search with the terms “board of elections” and the name of your state as keywords to get specific details for voting in your area. (And check that pile of snail mail on the kitchen counter — if you’re a registered voter, you may have already received an information card in the post with the hours and address of your polling site.)
In addition to local resources, these sites offer voting tips, candidate guides, polling-place finders and more. Read up, so once you decide on the candidates you’re voting for, the follow-through is the easy part.
- United States Election Assistance Commission
This site offers “A Voter’s Guide to Federal Elections,” available in 11 languages. It is designed to help voters successfully navigate the federal elections process, from registering to vote to casting a ballot on Election Day. It also has a PDF with voting tips available to download.
- Vote USA
Backed by Google, Business Online and other groups, this informational site wants to be “one-stop shopping for voters.” While it is not associated with any election authority, Vote USA collects information from official sources around the Web. As the main page states: Get your customized sample ballot and evaluate your candidates and ballot measures. Pictures, bios, YouTube videos, social media links and, most importantly, the candidates’ positions on the issues are all presented side-by-side for easy comparison. And, all information is candidate authored or obtained from the candidates’ websites. Vote-USA has no political agenda.
Run by the League of Women Voters, VOTE411.org also collects nonpartisan information on candidates in general and state-specific elections. Just enter your address into its online form to get the details on races in your district, as well as absentee ballot information; early voting options (where applicable); factual data on candidates in various federal, state and local races; ID requirements; polling place locations; voter qualifications and voting machines.
Remember, Election Day is November 6. Be there and mark your square!