Voter guides and sample ballots will show who the candidates are and any state or local measures up for a vote. Reviewing them before Election Day can help you decide who to vote for.
Voter guides provide background information on the candidates and ballot measures. They’ll list the candidates for each office and offer details on each one’s experience and goals. They’ll explain any ballot measures, which are specific questions or issues that you can approve or reject.
Regional newspapers often produce voter guides, as do issue-specific organizations.
BallotReady.org offers voter guides by home address nationwide. You can save your choices online and print or email your personalized ballot to bring with you to the polls.
Sample ballots simply show you the elections and candidates and any ballot measures that will be on your real ballot. They won’t provide information about the candidates like voter guides do. Your state may mail you a sample ballot or let you download one from its election site. The sample ballot may look exactly like the real one will.
Some non-profit organizations produce unofficial sample ballots. These ballots may not look the same as what you’ll see when you vote but will provide the same information.
Bringing Notes and Voter’s Guides to Your Polling Place
You can bring your notes, a voter's guide, or a sample ballot into the voting booth. This frees you from having to memorize your choices for candidates and ballot initiatives. Some polling places do restrict cell phone use, so bring paper copies instead of using your phone. Check the rules with your local election office before you go.