I know it’s easy to blow off all of this Election Day chaos because it can seem to be straight-up silly at times.
With all of the mud-slinging and “he said, she said” going on, it’s easy to want to write it all off as one big joke, but even though the antics of the candidates can seem comical at times, your vote still matters.
It’s never too early to start preparing for Election Day! Here’s your checklist:
- Make a list of what you value. Are you really passionate about finding ways to protect the environment or is cutting the deficit more important? You don’t need to write it down, but think about what matters to you a prioritize your interests.
- Look into the candidates. You’ll want to avoid their websites at all costs — complete PR spin on every single thing you can click. An alternative resource is FactCheck.org, which is a website that tries to find neutral ground (and let you know when BS is being spouted). Another interesting website to check out is PolitiFact.com’s Truth-O-Meter.
- Use social media as a resource. Want to learn more about a certain candidate and what he or she is up to? Follow them on Twitter! You’d be amazed all of the things you will learn. While you need to be careful of the “spin zone,” it’s still a different way to learn more about who is up for election.
- Figure out the details. Look up where you are voting and what you’ve got going on that day (if you know that far in advance). If you know you’ll be going out of town for Election Day, look into absentee voting. It’s very easy to fill out the application and send it in. Being too lazy to vote is not an excuse.
- Know about local issues. Never hurts to be informed on what’s going on around you! You’ll be surprised at the jargon you’ll encounter when you’re trying to read over what some items really mean. Consult a newspaper or TV station’s website beforehand to see a breakdown of what those items actually mean.
- Watch a debate. Now, I’m not saying you need to watch every single one, but I think it’s a good practice to at least see the dialogues that are happening in real time and what the opposing party has to say. If you only surround yourself with what you want to hear, you won’t grow as a person.
- Articulate your views to someone. If you can’t come up with two to three good reasons on why you support a specific candidate, you haven’t done your research. Know what their voting records are and why what they have to say matters to you. Not only will this be good for watercooler chats, it will also help you figure out why exactly you like this candidate.