Use voter guides and sample ballots to learn about candidates
Voter guides and sample ballots include the candidates and the state or local issues up for a vote. Reviewing them before you go to the polls can help you decide who to vote for.
Voter guides provide background information on the candidates and ballot measures. They list who you can vote for and offer details on each candidate's experience and goals. They also explain ballot measures, which are specific questions or issues that you can approve or reject.
- Find online 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.
- Regional newspapers often produce voter guides, as do issue-specific organizations.
Sample ballots simply show you the elections and candidates and any ballot measures that will be on your real ballot. They will not 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 will see when you vote, but will provide the same information.
Can you bring sample ballots and voter guides into the voting booth?
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.
LAST UPDATED: August 21, 2023