The highly-anticipated 2018 midterms are on Tuesday, but there is much more at stake beyond the federal elections. Across the country, states are gearing up to making major local decisions that will have a real impact on your community, and it's important that you ask yourself where you can find what's on your ballot if you want to be prepared.
Luckily, there has been a massive push to get voters to the polls, and that includes educating them about what they'll find there. With the help of modern technology, finding out what's on your ballot is quite literally as simple as clicking a link or opening an app, and you have several options.
One option is the website Head Count. You only need to enter your address, and the website provides you with all of the questions and elections that will appear on the ballot in your area. This includes information about candidates, and explanations about any potential ballot initiatives.
But Head Count represents only one of many websites with similar tools. There is also Vote411.org, where you can compile a mock-up of your state's ballot based on your address, or else allowing the website to access the GPS on your device.
Ballotopedia.org has a similar tool. That website offers quick, concise run-downs on what your state's propositions actually mean. Additionally, the list of elections includes photos of the people running for each office, which could prove helpful in jogging your memory.
Third parties aren't the only groups making this information public, however. Your state's election division, generally nestled within your local secretary of state's office, should also have respective ballot information available online. If you don't know where to look for this information, don't worry — www.rockthevote.org has a handy tool that lists each secretary of state's website in the country.
Unfortunately, not every state is forthcoming about voter information, but it's your right to be informed about public proceedings. If your state's secretary of state website is confusing or sparse, you should feel free to give their office a call and ask for what you need, whether that's information about candidates or where to find your polling location.
Many of the aforementioned websites not only provide users with information about what's actually on each state's ballot, but allow you to download a printable copy of the ballot, too. The idea is that, if you want to, you can bring the mock ballot to the polls as a guide to help you fill out the real one correctly. This can be useful for many reasons, but especially for proposition questions.
Those propositions, sometimes called ballot measures, can carry very serious consequences, are often saturated with legalese, making it difficult to understand how to vote for or against the measure. With a printed guide, you can rest assured that you're voting the way you actually want to, without feeling overwhelmed or confused at the last minute.
The 2018 midterms are crucial, and could potentially rock the makeup of not only the federal government, but local and state governments, too. Being educated about what's on your ballot will help you to make the most well-informed decisions possible.