How many of you find Election Day confusing? Do you know where you're supposed to vote? Do you know who all of the candidates are before you show up on Election Day to mark your ballot?
The logistics of Election Day can often be confusing, especially for people who don't vote very often. If you're not sure where you should go to vote, the Pennsylvania Department of State has a Web site to help you Find Your Polling Place where you can enter your street address to find the address of your polling place.
The other challenge for many people is the dizzying array of names, many of which people have never heard of, for positions many people don't really understand. The constant barrage of negative ads doesn't help clarify important issues very well either. Many people I've spoken to admit that they often just vote for a name that sounds familiar, or an ad pops into their mind - especially when it comes to state and local candidates such as in the odd-year municipal elections. More often than not, I vote by absentee ballot because I travel a lot on business. Getting the election ballot several weeks before the election gives me the opportunity to research the people who I'm entrusting with the future of our city/county/state/country.
One of my prime research tools is the website created by the League of Women Voters. They always publish an overview of the candidates, and their stands on key issues. Another great site called Smart Voter lets you enter your address, and up pops basically a copy of your local election ballot showing all the positions and candidates you will have the opportunity to vote for -- as specific as your local school director. The site includes easy to follow links that explain what each position is. It also provides background on each candidate, their top priorities, and in some cases key endorsements.
Everyone has their own priorities when it comes to government, but we are fortunate as Americans to have a free electoral process. I encourage all of you to take the time and research the people you are putting into office to represent you - so you are making an informed decision, not just a decision based on marketing and advertisements, especially as bad as they have been this year. But most of all, get out and vote on November 6!
More: Election Guide 2012