We’re approaching the final inning of the 2016 U.S. elections. All eyes are on the big hitters, but if this year’s World Series proved anything, an unsuspected player may deliver the winning run.
As you prepare to rock the vote and hit the polls on November 8, don’t forget to consider the entire roster of candidates and issues on the ballot. Your state government officials and local measures will often have the most impact on you as an individual. The challenge is that local election information, especially at the state and city level, is often complex and overwhelming. Just take a look at the city and county Voter Guide for San Francisco. It’s a 312-page textbook! And that doesn’t even include information on the 17 California State ballot propositions.
With just a few days left to go before election day, consider these tips to help get informed before heading to the polls:
- Research local candidates and prioritize issues that matter to you.
You drive past the signs in the yards and hear the political ads, but do you really know where your local candidates stand on the issues? Thankfully there are tools that help break down their positions. Sites like ballotready.org and http://votesmart.org/ let you plug in your address to find information about your local candidates and the policies they support. Facebook also introduced a feature that shows you what’s on the 2016 ballot in your state and how to size up the candidates. You can even email your ballot choices to yourself so you’ll have them for reference at the polls to make the voting process a breeze.
- Host or attend a “Ballot Brunch.”
Do you have friends who also share the overwhelming feeling of ignorance when it comes to your local propositions? Get together and host a Ballot Brunch. Assign each attendee an issue or candidate, however, you’d like to organize it, and have them come prepared to inform and debate both sides of each issue over mimosas. Or plan a Ballot Brewery Bash, a Ballot Bonfire or Ballots & Boche. No matter how you rock your ballot party, you and your friends will be more informed, empowered, and prepared to share your “I voted” emojis with pride.
- Prepare your ballot ahead of time.
Once you’ve researched local candidates and thrown a Ballot Bash of sorts, fill out your ballot in advance so that you don’t feel pressure to make an impulse decision once you’re at the polling booth. While some companies like Chime are giving their employees the Election Day off, most voters will have to carve out time from their busy schedules to vote. Consider voting early or plan to get to the polls early to avoid lines and added stress.
When it comes to elections, there are no extra innings. Now’s the time to get informed and #ChimeIn to make your voice heard.