As we enter an election season filled with name-calling, rumor-mongering, and just plain lies, it can be hard to find accurate information about the issues and candidates amid all the Internet memes. These nonpartisan sites and organizations can help you make sure you’re registered, then navigate through the noise and draw your own conclusions so you’ll be able to vote your convictions come November.
Registration and Voter Info
United States Election Assistance Commission: EAC maintains the National Mail Voter Registration Form, which voters can use to register to vote and update their registration information. The form is available in seven languages. EAC also provides voter guides in 11 languages and a variety of links to helpful resources for voters relating to registration, military and overseas voting, accessibility, and volunteering as a poll worker.
National Association of Secretaries of State maintains a website that provides up to date information, by state, on how to: Register to Vote, Voter Registration Status, Find Your Polling Place, Valid Forms of ID, Absentee and Early Voting, Overseas Voters, Election Officials Directory, Become a Poll Worker.
Vote411.org: The League of Women Voters provides information on your ballot issues, searchable by state keyword.
HeadCount: Nonpartisan organization registers voters at concerts, and also online where available.
RocktheVote: “Building political power for young people.” Offers online registration. Also provides information on national, state, and local candidates and issues.
RespectMyVote: Respect My Vote! is a non-partisan campaign created and presented by the national, non-profit HIP HOP CAUCUS.
BallotReady.org: Unbiased information on candidates and ballot measures in your area, searchable by address. “Every candidate and referendum, explained.”
IWillVote.com: Provides info on where to vote, what you need, etc. (Sponsored by the Democratic Party, but provides unbiased public information.)
FactCheck.org: A nonpartisan, nonprofit “consumer advocate” for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. FactCheck monitors the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players in the form of TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews and news releases. Its goal is to apply the best practices of both journalism and scholarship, and to increase public knowledge and understanding. FactCheck.org is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. The APPC was established by publisher and philanthropist Walter Annenberg to create a community of scholars within the University of Pennsylvania that would address public policy issues at the local, state and federal levels.
Snopes.com: There’s a lot of wacky stuff on the Internet. Some of it even comes from the mouths of politicians, their supporters, or their enemies. Find out if it’s true, false, or a mix of both.
PolitiFact: Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking website that rates the accuracy of claims by elected officials and others who speak up in American politics. PolitiFact is run by editors and reporters from the Tampa Bay Times, an independent newspaper in Florida, as is PunditFact, a site devoted to fact-checking pundits. Find out which politicians and pundits are telling the truth, which ones are stretching it, and which ones are making statements PolitiFact rates Pants on Fire.
Washington Post Fact Checker: The purpose of this Web site, and an accompanying column in the Sunday print edition of The Washington Post, is to “truth squad” the statements of political figures regarding issues of great importance, be they national, international or local. As a presidential election approaches, it will increasingly focus on statements made in the heat of the presidential contest. But it will not be limited to political charges or countercharges. It will seek to explain difficult issues, provide missing context and provide analysis and explanation of various “code words” used by politicians, diplomats and others to obscure or shade the truth.
15 News Organizations Worthy of Respect: “Popular culture has become so attuned to repeated and regurgitated analysis, interpretation and opinion passing as news that we don’t stop to distinguish the reality behind the bloviation any longer. Here are 15 sources, which have earned their respectable reputations through investigative reporting and the maintenance of high journalistic standards of integrity.”
Exploring the Ballot and Understanding Parties
KQED’s What’s the Point of Political Party Platforms? Provides an explainer on the what and why of political party platforms. “…if you want to cut through some of the election spin and get an idea of what each political party ‘officially’ stands for, party platforms are a good place to start.” Read or listen to this article to learn more.
Artist YelloPain’s song, “My Vote Dont Count ?” gives a comprehensive overview of why it’s important to vote up and down the ballot for local, state, and national offices and initiatives—and how the process of democratic governance works.