Culture, Feature Story

5 Websites to Help You with Last-Minute Tips About Voting

By Jennifer Hamra


Tomorrow is Election Day and if you find yourself frantically searching online for last-minute tips about voting, you are not alone. Many Americans are still researching voter’s information about candidates and various issues. In fact, last night I was talking to my husband Travis about Election Day and he told me he was still reading over candidates’ information.

Thanks to my conversation with Travis, it inspired me to write this post. I know he is not the only one who needs last-minute tips about voting. I took some time to review five voting websites that help give voters information about voters’ rights, candidates and their positions on important issues, and Election Day information.

Check out below what I found in my research! Let me know if there’s anything you would add to my list so it can help others. 


Photo by Casey Robertson on Unsplash

LAST-MINUTE TIPS ABOUT VOTING 

BALLOTREADY:

This site lists all 50 states plus the District of Columbia where you can get information about who’s running for what office. 

PRO: You can find names of all of the candidates who are running for every position such as Judicial Circuit Court, Judicial Supreme Court, State Legislative Upper and Lower House, State K12 Education Board, State Higher Education Board, State Attorney General, U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, Governor,  and more.

CON: BallotReady seems to give more information about the top running candidates than others. I found names of candidates I had never heard of and I couldn’t find what their position was on many issues.


Photo by Renee Fisher on Unsplash

BALLOTPEDIA:

A website that lists candidates that will be on your state’s ballot and includes “comprehensive election information for the largest 100 cities by population, as well as state legislative, statewide, and congressional races across the nation.”

PRO: Ballotpedia looks a little like Wikipedia. It is very detailed, just like an enyclopedia. It lists the Ballot Measures (Marijuana Legalization Initiative, Independent Redistricting Commission Initiative, and Voting Policies in State Constitutional Initiative) and names of candidates running for office. It also does exactly what it says in giving you comprehensive election information. For instance, you can click on your state and find information about federal politics and local politics. 

Ballotpedia is pretty similar to BallotReady. It gives summarized information about each candidate. It also lists stats on the primary election the candidate was in and lets you know who won and the number of votes the candidate received. Ballotpedia also has a feature to help you find a polling place in your area.

You can also find information on candidates that BallotReady does not list. For instance, when I clicked on U.S. Senate candidate Marcia Squier, I was able to find a campaign statement she wrote explaining why she’s running for U.S. Senate. I was not able to find this on BallotReady.

Another pro to Ballotpedia is that it gives news articles and updates about the election across the U.S. 

CON: The only con I could find was that I had to opt-in with my email address to view my state’s ballot information. Not sure if you can override that, but I’m sure you can opt-out of the email updates once you receive your welcome email.


Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

VOTE411.ORG:

Vote 411 features an option to register to vote (for future reference), voting information by state, numbers to call for Election Day problems, and personalized voting information. You can even check the status of your voter registration on Vote 411. 

PROS: I like the personalized voting information. You enter your address and it will tell you important info you need to know such as if you will need an ID for voting, what kind of ID is acceptable, personalized information about candidates and issues for your local area, and where to go to vote based on your address.

When you click on each candidate, Vote 411 gives you a summary of the candidates position on top issues. It is formatted in a Q&A style.

I also like that Vote 411 seems to give more detailed information on candidates I am not very familiar with, such as Keith Butkovich, Michigan governor candidate. I couldn’t find any information bout Butkovich on BallotReady and Ballotpedia, but Vote 411 has six Q&A points on their site.

CON: I couldn’t really find a con on the Vote 411 website. It seems pretty straightforward and user-friendly. I would say the only disadvantage in contrast to the Ballotpedia is that Vote 411 doesn’t have the cool news updates feature. But if you’re just wanting a site to give you information about candidates, then this isn’t really a con. 

Photo by Eneida Hoti

TWO OTHER WEBSITES THAT MAY HELP WITH LAST-MINUTE TIPS ABOUT VOTING

USA.gov and Rock the Vote

USA.gov’s Voter Research page may be helpful site in finding last minute tips about voting. It offers a guide on what to do when you vote in-person on Election day, how to research candidates, sample ballots, and write-in candidates for federal and state elections.

Rock the Vote gives the following information:

Understanding Voting Rights

Phone numbers to call if you’re experiencing problems at the voting poll

State information about the candidates who are running in your area

How to find a polling place

Voting FAQs 


Of course, there are many more websites that can help you with researching candidates and voting information. If the above sites I listed are not helpful, I encourage you to find a resource or website that best fits your needs. You should always do your research to help you make a more informed decision on who you vote for. Remember, voting is our right to let our voice be heard on issues that matter to us! 

Feature Image Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash


ALSO, CHECK OUT ON THE BLOG:

What are your thoughts?