Monday, November 03, 2014

Getting powered up to vote, with information.

It's almost election day, and there's still time to vote. There's also still time to learn about what you can vote on.

To start some research you can head over to Ballotpedia. At this site you can go to the Sample Ballot page to pull up the ballot that will be used in your Zip Code area.

Then you can review what will be on the ballot tomorrow. Governor. State Rep. Secretary of State. Etc.

You will also see the Amendments, Measures, and the alphabet of other issues you may be asked about. It offers added information on the two sides of each issue, and who is supporting it.

I won't guarantee it will resolve your issues. Sometimes the sides aren't as helpful as you'd like. I have one measure about expanding the number of doctors you can go to on insurance. I am torn on the pros and cons of the matter And secondary analysis of the measure is hard to find.

But for most issues the information on this site can at least help you muddle through the legal language that sometimes gets used.

The listings of candidates is also nice, as it allows you to try and figure out who the candidates really are. Often you can go into the polls and have no idea who is who, and what the positions actually do. Take some time to google them and see.

But one area that still vexes me is the fact I keep getting asked to vote for judges. What? Why? The only time you hear about a judge is if they get caught committing a crime, or make a controversial ruling. And even then, do you really remember them?

If you'd to have judges to vote on, I'd like to suggest Judgepedia (Yes, it exists.) You can at least see the candidates history on the bench to some extent. Also you can see if there are any notable cases. Also if they've served as a public defender or prosecutor. Also, in some cases, you can see if they've been involved with causes, like helping victims of certain crimes, or making changes to the system.

The site also, at least for my state, has ratings for judges as to how conservative they are, compared to the rest of the sitting judges.

Voting on judges seems silly, but you can at least, if you want to vote on them, make a semi-informed choice. (And I'd add, in Iowa after the State Supreme Court sided with the rights of gay people, conservatives were happy to go out and try to vote some of those justices out. If you have some honest judges on the bench that are being harried, why not help them?)

I hope you can take the time to vote this week. Every vote does count. Many offices and measures are close. Votes will matter.

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