Monday, November 2, 2009

Election Day resources

Tuesday, November 3 is Election Day. This is an off-year; most elections are for local officials. Mayors, local judges, city council members, members of the schoolboard, and other municipal officials make decisions about taxation and how your tax dollars will be put to work. Local elections may not get much press coverage, but their outcomes definitely affect our lives in important ways.

The League of Women Voters provides a service called SmartVoter.org. It has information like how to find out if you are registered to vote, your polling location, what elections are being held, laws regarding getting time off to vote, and more. You can also search for your state's Board of Elections website.

Politics is a case study in how crucial it is to identify the sources of bias. Here are some other resources for informing yourself about the issues:
  • Gale Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center - a library database that contains articles, opinion pieces, and primary sources from all points of view about various "hot topics"
  • Congressional Quarterly Electronic Library - a library database containing federal government policy documents and analysis.
  • FactCheck.org - a website run by the Annenberg Public Policy Center. It doesn't accept funding from corporations, lobbyists, labor unions, or political parties. "We monitor 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."
  • PolitiFact - a service of the St. Petersburg Times and The Congressional Quarterly. It features the Truth-O-Meter, which rates the statements of public figures all the way from bald-faced lies to 100% true and verifiable. There's also the Obameter, which tracks the President's progress (and lack thereof) in fulfilling campaign promises, and the Flipometer, which tracks politicians who change their minds and votes about the issues.
  • FollowTheMoney.org is a non-partisan non-profit organization whose service lets you track campaign contributions and lobbying in state and local politics. And MAPlight.org similarly lets you track donations and lobbying in national politics.
So look over these resources today, and get out and vote tomorrow!
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