Researching elections in 2016

Posted on August 18, 2016 at 6:00 am

By Carlie Hoffman

It’s been a little over eight years since I moved to Washington state, and I am proud to say that I have not missed voting in a single election in those years. While I would like to say that it is my civic conscientiousness that attributes to this record, in truth it’s the fact that ballots are mailed directly to my house.

While other states require citizens to wait in long lines and take time off work to vote, Washington’s process uses mail-in ballots. When I lived in another state, I barely ever knew what was on the ballot and when voting dates were. Now I know exactly when new bills and measures are up for a vote and when local, statewide, and national elections are taking place. Having all of this at home also makes it much easier for me to choose what and who to vote for because I have so much more time to research my decision.

Here are some of my favorite places on the web to find out more information about candidates and initiatives.

Spokane County Elections
This is the one-stop place for great information about everything up for vote on your mail-in ballot. Using the Voters’ Guide, it is easy to drill down to get the scoop on what exactly each proposition entails as well as lots of bios of candidates.

Vote Smart
Sometimes there is too much information out there and it can be hard to figure out who to listen to, especially when it seems like everyone has their own agenda. This site is particularly useful because it is unbiased and factual. Search for a candidate to get their voting records, bio, issue positions, interest group ratings, public statements, and campaign finances.

Ballotpedia
This resource is like an encyclopedia of politics. There are entries on candidates, ballot measures, budgets, and so much more—each written and curated by a professional staff of writers and researchers who are committed to neutrality.

Politwoops
Dedicated to documenting tweets deleted by politicians, this one is more for fun and general interest. Whether minor messaging changes or major gaffes, this nonpartisan site shows you “the tweets they would prefer you couldn’t see.”

Whether or not you voted in the most recent elections on August 2, there is still time to register for the general election on November 8. The deadline for registration, address changes, and other updates is October 10. You can register to vote online or by mail. Learn more by visiting Spokane County Elections.

Bio_CarlieH