Voting resources to prep for Nov. 3

October 2020

Keith Goble

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As we know from years past and again this year, presidential election cycles are a battleground of positions and claims. Voters wanting to educate themselves on candidates and issues are tasked with trying to find impartial voting resources for reliable, accurate and nonpartisan information to research. Below are some resources to get information about candidates and issues on your local ballot.

Ballotpedia describes itself as the “digital encyclopedia of American politics and elections.” It was founded in 2007 and is sponsored by the Lucy Burns Institute, a nonpartisan and nonprofit organization in Middleton, Wis.

The self-described goal of the site is to inform people about politics by providing accurate and objective information about politics at all levels of government. According to Ballotpedia.org, the website covers local, state and federal politics and is firmly committed to neutrality. Their content includes accurate, verifiable, neutral information on government officials and the offices they hold.

Also on the site, you can get an early look at what’s on your local ballot. The resource also has a smartphone app.

Vote Smart is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization that collects and distributes information on candidates for public office. It was founded in 1992 and has tools on VoteSmart.org to help you “find your political soulmate” via its “Vote Easy” feature and prepare yourself for big elections like the one coming up Nov. 3.

Another resource on the site is “Political Galaxy.” The feature allows you to research federal lawmakers and where they stand on a long list of issues that include transportation.

According to its website, Vote Smart’s mission is “to provide free, factual, unbiased information on candidates and elected officials.” Additionally, the resource has a smartphone app.

Know Your Vote is a nonpartisan resource described as providing factual information so that you can learn more about candidates and issues.

The site allows you to research how candidates stack up by allowing you to select issues, including infrastructure, that are most important to you. Know Your Vote includes information on presidential, congressional, gubernatorial, state and local elections.

OpenSecrets is touted as a nonpartisan, independent and nonprofit research source to get a good idea about money’s influence on D.C. lawmakers. The site is run by the Center for Responsive Politics.

The site provides information on which companies and lobbyist groups contribute to which candidates. OpenSecrets.org also provides detail on local contributions. Information is available for who is doing the giving and who is receiving.

OpenSecrets includes a browser extension dubbed “Greenhouse.” The extension highlights members of Congress on any webpage. A popup provides “total contributions and industry breakdown from the current election cycle.”

Additionally, the app iCitizen uses OpenSecrets.org data to generate campaign contribution information. The tool is described as allowing users “to get a sense of how money in politics may be giving a push to one side in a particular policy area.”

Another helpful resource for getting you through the voting process is FactCheck.org.

The resource is a self-described nonpartisan, nonprofit “consumer advocate” for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. Fact Check describes itself as monitoring the accuracy of what is said by major political players in the form of television ads, debates, speeches, interviews and news releases.

The site is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. LL

Keith Goble

Keith Goble has been covering trucking-related laws since 2000. His daily web reports, radio news and “OOIDA’s State Watch” in Land Line Magazine are the industry’s premier sources for information regarding state legislative affairs.