Candidate positions, distilled?
November 5, 2012 6:22 PM   Subscribe

Help me be an informed voter in my local (U.S.) Senate and Congressional races tomorrow! I'd like to key in my ZIP code and get a concise, impartial overview of the platform and positions of all the candidates on the ballot. Direct me to site(s) that may serve, Metafilter.
posted by killdevil to Law & Government (13 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: I'm in Virginia, in case there are any sites specific to Commonwealth politics you'd care to recommend.
posted by killdevil at 6:25 PM on November 5, 2012

Ballotpedia is amazing. It might not be quite as pushbutton as you specify, but it's my go-to resource for answering these sorts of questions.
posted by eak at 6:30 PM on November 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

League of Women Voters? I've always liked them. Non-partisan and informative.
posted by cooker girl at 6:32 PM on November 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Googling 'virginia voter guide' comes up with, among other results, a special little google tool where you enter in your address and it links you to a bunch of info.
posted by victory_laser at 6:36 PM on November 5, 2012 (sponsored by League of Women Voters)
posted by bitterpants at 6:38 PM on November 5, 2012

WAMU's (American University Radio 88.5) Voter Guide lets you build your own ballot based on your address, and shows side by side information on the candidates in question as you go. Happy voting!
posted by Crease Lambada at 6:39 PM on November 5, 2012

Greetings from Harrisonburg! The editorial board of The Washington Post presents a cogent argument for voting No on Ballot Question 1.
posted by feral_goldfish at 7:03 PM on November 5, 2012

I was going to suggest League of Women voters, like cooker girl suggested.

Alternatively, you could look at recommendations from certain groups. Many of them have voter guides. Example.

I also used a flyer from the mail, which pinpointed which candidates were supported by the tea party, giving me a good guide on who not to vote for. YMMV
posted by annsunny at 8:29 PM on November 5, 2012

Project Vote Smart is exactly what you're looking for.
posted by SisterHavana at 8:53 PM on November 5, 2012

Ballotpedia, mentioned upthread, is the best single source I've found.

FWIW I've noticed a distinct trend on candidate web sites this year to post absolutely nothing about their platform or the issues. Many candidate web sites do not even have a page or section about the issues.

Those that do, the content is so brief and simplified they might as well just skip it altogether.

I'm not sure what the solution is--one possibility is to search for your candidates' names on google news, and sometimes wikipedia articles for candidates aren't too bad--but there definitely seems to be a movement towards content-free campaigns. For the big races, there is enough news coverage that you probably have some idea where the candidates stand, but for local races you may find you're making a decision based on some photos and a short bio from the candidate's web site.
posted by flug at 9:06 PM on November 5, 2012

The google tool i mentioned is now the current google-doodle.
posted by victory_laser at 9:52 PM on November 5, 2012

I used the WAMU voter guide linked to above, and also ended up using one of the league of women's voters sites as a supplement. ( -- if you're doing this from home, you might not even need to type in your address!)
posted by NikitaNikita at 9:55 PM on November 5, 2012

I'm not sure what the solution is

Decide which major party is closer to you and vote for all the candidates from that party.

Honestly, thinking about things more than that will only result in trifling improvements over a decision rule that simple.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:11 AM on November 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

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