Election Day is November 3rd, and depending on when you're reading this, that's either a few weeks or a few days away. Of course we'll all have the presidential nominees on our ballots along with some state-wide races everyone votes on, but what about the candidates a little closer to home? Do you know who's running to represent you on the City or County Council? If I asked you what district or ward you live in, would you know?

My point is, that part of the ballot can be a little overwhelming. Maybe in past elections you simply chose not to vote in those races because you didn't bother to research them and you didn't want to just pick someone because you don't know what they stand for. The truth is, our local races are just as important as the state and national ones, if not more so, because they have the greatest potential to impact our every day lives. City and County Councilpersons decided how our local tax dollars are spent, zoning regulations that impact development, and more.

The problem is, most of the candidates running for those offices don't have the campaign finances or the backing of political action committees to run ads on radio, TV, or online. Some have enough to put a few signs in yards, or flyers in mailboxes, and that's about it. So, unless we see one of those signs as we drive past someone's yard, or they stick a flyer on our door, or in our mailbox, we never see their name until we look at our ballot on Election Day, and by then it's too late. Fortunately, we can get the answer to nearly any question we ask literally at the tips of our fingers thanks to the internet.

Ballot Ready.org is a site run by a group of individuals who have dedicated themselves to helping us become as informed as possible before we head to the polls by letting us look at our ballot before we officially cast it. Simply type in your street address, along with your city and state, and Ballot Ready will show you not only the national and statewide races, but the races for your county. For example, my family and I live in Newburgh, when I submitted my address, I discovered a number of Warrick County races I had no idea where happening including County Council, Surveyor, Recorder, and School Board.

Clicking on any of the races will, in most cases, show you all the candidates running for that elected office, and in some cases, provide links to their Facebook pages and/or websites, if applicable. It will also pull their stances on particular issues such as the environment and healthcare from those links into an easy-to-read chart.

While Ballot Ready is handy, like most things, it's not perfect. For example, there's no website or Facebook link for several candidates listed on my ballot. However, it does give me all their names which is a good start for doing the research on my own.

Why not get started yourself? I assume if you're reading this, you're either avoiding doing real work, or have time to kill. Either way, take the time to get informed and be ready to try and put the person you want in office on November 3rd.

For more resources on voting ahead of this Election Day, be sure to take a look at the links on our Be Heard November 3rd page by tapping the button below.

[Source: BallotReady.org]

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