The epithets dedicated to the American ballot voting system are never two steps short of convoluted, serpentine, tangled, tortuous, intricate, labyrinthine… democracy in action is, yes, complex and somewhat tricky. One of the many reasons why it is so precious.
There is no one single, encompassing database that even so much as lists all the candidates and the positions that are up for a vote. Curious about how to begin the voter registration process? Need a reminder? Fortunately, the digital world has scores of applications and resources to make some step by step sense of it all.
Apps, Sites & Resources: Helping the Democratic Process Along
Resources for Identifying and Explaining Representatives
- whoaremyrepresentatives.org is first and foremost. Enter address and zip code to know who your reps are in your district.
- govtrack.us is an all-encompassing information repository and one of the oldest government transparency sites. Resources include statistical analyses, bill status, a congressional misconduct database, original research and status of federal legislation, as well as representative and senator info in Congress broken down by state. The organization has even testified before Congress on how to make it a more open institution.
- Vote.Foundation offers up a simplified legislation cheat sheet. If nonpartisan is your flavor, this is just cold data.
- We Vote is a national app and digital ballot guide that enables voters to filter by issues and then goes on to score the candidates on precisely said issues. It covers the gamut, from school board elections to the highest in the land… even letting you know what offices you yourself could run for and hold.
- BallotReady by Alex Niemczewski is a national site that lists who has endorsed the candidates and their position on issues. Although the information comes straight from the source, candidate websites, the shortcoming is it leaves out spiny issues they seek to avoid.
- IssueVoter takes a different approach, allowing you to know via alerts and notifications how our elected reps voted on the issues. It even empowers voters, enabling them to communicate how they want their reps to vote on any said bill with one click.
Resources for Election Reminders
- Turbo Vote incorporates useful text and email reminders when different local, state and national elections are coming up or the intricacies of applying for an absentee ballot, the infamous mail-in or postal vote in most states.
- Vote.org aims to increase voter turnout by facilitating voter tools such as registration/verification tools, to verify your voter registration status, or the absentee ballot tool. They even have a far-reaching SMS and digital ad process to get unlikely voters to the polls.
Ballot Amendment Breakdown & Sample Ballots
- ballotpedia.org features comprehensive ballot samples for the top 100 cities in the land, allowing you to have a peek at your actual ballot before you show up at the polls. Moreover, it details the ballot measures of elections at all levels as well as the amendments we should loom out for.
- * The MiamiDade.gov site had a perfectly useful and informative ballot sample page (https://www.miamidade.gov/global/service.page?Mduid_service=ser151187731708822), but alas, it is not working any longer.
Resources for Voter Guides
- votemiami.org/candidate101 is a much-appreciated touchpoint at Inreact, providing resources for all of the candidates running so you can easily watch moderated and multiplatform information in case you’re still undecided. Comes in both English and Spanish.
- engage.miami/voterguide aggregates a few other voter guides in addition to theirs, which profiles the candidates and offers such useful resources as the specifically-tailored Young People’s Voter Guide.
- Miami Herald Voter Guide. For subscribers only, click here: https://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/election/voter-guide/