Informed voting is essential to the democratic process. An informed voter is better able to use their vote to express their concerns and advocate for what they care about. It’s important to be an informed voter, so you can choose the best candidate that aligns with your values.
Depending on the election, your ballot can include multiple contests and candidates, including people running for President, U.S. Senate, U.S. House, State Assembly, State Senate, City Council, and other offices. You also may be asked to vote on ballot measures, which involve issues that need to be approved or rejected by voters. You can learn about what is on your ballot and the candidates competing for each position by visiting ballotready.org.
There are also other ways to research candidates. For example, in the Digital Age, it’s common for some people to receive their news from social media. In fact, a Pew Research study from 2019 found that 55% of U.S. adults are getting their news from social media platforms “often” or “sometimes.” A 2022 Pew Research Study showed that in the past two years the number of adults getting their news from TikTok has nearly tripled from 3% (2020) to 10% (2022). However, the biggest social media news platforms remain Facebook and YouTube. A quarter of U.S. adults get their news from YouTube, while 31% regularly get news from Facebook. If you receive your information about political candidates from social media, make sure that the source is reliable. The more sources you examine, the better.
Here are some helpful resources to help you avoid fake news on social media:
- “How to Detect Bias in News Media”
- Politifact “Truth-o-meter” shows which political statements in media are true or false.
- “3 Types of False Election Rumors to Look Out For”
Understanding Texas Government
Apart from researching, it’s also key that you understand the responsibilities of the public office a candidate is running for. The Texas Tribune reports that Texans’ ballots for the midterm elections this year will be particularly long. With so many positions up for grabs, it’s important to understand what each office does. Learn about the positions there for the taking here.
Once you decide who you’re voting for (https://www.usa.gov/voter-research), it’s time to figure out how, where, and when to vote. All this information is easily obtainable through your county elections department. Other resources to help you find your polling location include VOTE411.org, www.usa.gov/how-to-vote, or votetexas.gov.
- Am I eligible to vote?
- Am I registered?
- Do I know what will be on the ballot?
- Do I have one of the seven approved forms of voter ID?
- Do I know my polling place?
If you wish to vote by mail…
- Have I filled out the application for a ballot by mail?