When evaluating who to vote for, it's important to decide what strengths you're looking for in a candidate, to research their positions on the issues, to learn about their leadership abilities, and to recognize any distortions in the information and opinions they express.
Watch the Debates
Watching debates is an important way to learn more about the candidates and the issues before the election, so you can cast an informed vote. At the same time, you need to view debates with a careful eye to get the most information. Learn what to look for before, during and after a debate.
Know Who is Running and Research Their Views
Many candidates running for office will have a website that states their views and positions on various subjects. In addition, voting guides may provide information about the views of a candidate or answers to certain questions. Various sources, such as issue-specific organizations and newspapers, produce these guides.
The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, produces an online voter guide where you can find a sample ballot, candidates’ answers to specific questions, and links to the candidates’ websites. The Council on Foreign Relations Campaign 2016 site allows you to browse each candidate’s position on the issues and to contact the candidate’s campaign office for more information.
Research a Candidate Who is Holding or Has Held an Office
A candidate’s voting history is public. If the candidate is running for federal office as a Representative or Senator, you can find their voting record on Congress.gov. For those who have held state office, you can contact your state legislature website.
For candidates holding county or local offices, contact your local government.
For information about where and how to vote, or for ballot measures in your state, contact your state election office.