How to research all of the non-presidential candidates that appear on the ballot?
November 1, 2004 3:10 PM   Subscribe

Any advice on how to research the bazillion non-presidential candidates that will appear on tomorrow's ballot? I've always had problems figuring out which circuit court judge to vote for, or which state assemblyperson, for example.
posted by swift to Law & Government (12 answers total)
Check out Project Vote Smart. Enter your 9-Digit ZIP code or select your state and you can get a list of everyone who is running and often lots of information on their previous employment, candidacies, political opinions, and so on.
posted by brettcar at 3:26 PM on November 1, 2004

Does your local paper have a website? Newspapers often publish election guides.
posted by JanetLand at 3:57 PM on November 1, 2004

great resource. thanks brettcar.
posted by fishfucker at 3:59 PM on November 1, 2004

Man, everybody should encourage their state (the secretary of state is a good place to start) to switch to vote-by-mail like Oregon. I can't imagine trying to research and then remember all the people I want to vote for. Spending a few evenings going over the voter's guide, and referencing it while I fill out my ballot makes everything so much easier. Not spending a few days voting seems like unnescessary pressure to me.

But since that won't work for you for this election, try googling your county's elections office. They generally have a voter guide online, or at least they should. If not, definitely Project Vote Smart.
posted by evilbeck at 4:02 PM on November 1, 2004

I usually use the League of Women Voters' non-partisan voter guide, which is available in my local area.
posted by grouse at 4:15 PM on November 1, 2004

The League of Women Voters Democracy Net is available online.
posted by stefanie at 4:17 PM on November 1, 2004

I've noticed that LWV is often better than Project Vote Smart for local issues -- my guess is that it's because rather than relying on the candidate to take the NPAT (as PVS does), LWV's DemocracyNet will in fact fill in blanks for a candidate. Not sure, tho'.
posted by weston at 4:42 PM on November 1, 2004

Also, your state may have a voting guide -- see if you can find the state elections office on your state website, and look for any information they have. I know this varies, but Utah actually makes a very nice guide with good information, which they probably feel safe doing because everyone is going to vote republican anyway.
posted by weston at 4:44 PM on November 1, 2004

You can take a cheat sheet into the voting both with you, so you can research at home, print out your own guide, and take it in.
posted by jennyb at 5:31 PM on November 1, 2004

the various bar associations in illinois do recommended/not recommended lists for all the judges up for retention (it's based upon survey of lawyers who have appeared before the judges as well as interviews with the judges). search for your voting precinct county + "bar association" and you should find the appropriate list.
posted by crush-onastick at 7:24 PM on November 1, 2004

Response by poster: Good stuff - thanks.
posted by swift at 7:56 PM on November 1, 2004

I've been having some luck with my local Free Times. They seem to hate ALL candidates as much as I do, so they rake muck on 'em all non-partisan, and despite being unbiased they still lean the same as me. It's searchable for past articles.

If you can find something similar and local, it's a good reference.

Once you've found the list of all your candidates and issues (somewhere like Vote Smart or League/Women Voters, as above), Googling them each by name doesn't hurt either.

If you haven't found all your local issues (not just your State Ballot issues), the website of your local regular newspaper(s) should have a complete ballot list too, and you can research more from there.
posted by Shane at 8:51 PM on November 1, 2004

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