6 Shortcuts to Plan an Informed Vote With Limited Time

It's one thing to vote, and a whole other thing cast an informed vote. And let's be real, a lot of us who believe vehemently in the importance of voting also wait until the last minute to research the issues and end up leaving a lot of items blank on our ballots, or end up voting according to the "D" or "R" next to a candidate's name. But this election is way too important to leave that much up to chance. So for all of you folks who are short on time, instead of giving up, plan your informed vote with some of these shortcuts!

1. Start early

You're less likely to feel pressed for time if you start early. As in TODAY. That doesn't mean you need to dedicate hours to research after you finish reading this list. For today, just make sure you're registered to vote.

Check your voter registration status at Vote.org.

Tomorrow, find out what's on your ballot and write down the list in a notebook or a Google Sheet.

Find out what's on your ballot by entering your address at Ballotpedia.org

The next day, plan your vote for just the first item on your ballot. The following day, tackle the second. In just a matter of minutes a day you can have a well-informed voting plan! How about dedicating 2 minutes per day before you log in for work? Or before you settle in for your nightly Love is Blind binge?

2. Take a quiz!

If you're new to the whole politics scene, and don't know where you fall on the spectrum, try taking a quiz that will use your ideals to tell you your political preferences. Some of our favorites include I Side With and Pew Research. (I Side With even tells you which candidates running for many of the races on your ballot align with your values!)

3. Check what and who your most trusted organizations are endorsing

Do you have a local organization that you know you tend align with ideologically? They may have published a list of endorsements and recommendations for your ballot!
Example search term: Sierra Club California 2020 Endorsements

4. Check with experts

Does your ballot have a measure relating to health care reform? Ask your nurse friend to weigh in. Are you deciding on a proposition about school funding? Ask your favorite educator how they're voting! Completely lost on how you should vote for the judicial seats on your ballot? Consult with your lawyer buddy! Your expert friends will likely provide you with some insight that can't be found by doing independent research online. 

5. Ask friends who share your values how they are voting

A lot of us have at least one friend who tends to align with our ideals pretty much always. Determine who that friend is for you, and take a peek at their test! We're not here to judge! Just make sure you have enough of an understanding of your ballot to know whether you share your friend's preferences on every issue. If you know that you have different opinions about police reform or low-income housing, do your own research if those topics show up on your ballot.

6. Form a research group and divvy up the work

If you have a group of ideologically-aligned friends who are in the same boat as you and who haven't planned their ballots yet, form a research group! Divvy up the research evenly, and plan a Zoom sesh to share how you're voting on each measure/candidate and why. 

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