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How to Vote!

Updated on January 24, 2017

How to Vote!

I would like to encourage every citizen to vote. It is our civic duty to participate in every election. It is the cornerstone of our democracy. I also would like to use this lens to inform people on the correct way to vote. We need to study the issues and examine each candidate and make an informed choice. Voting is the ultimate poll and the only poll that matters. If people chooses not to vote, then they have no right to complaint afterwards. Please vote!

-Oct. 2008

How to Vote...

Here are the steps to follow before voting. You need to spend some time in order to make up your mind. It may seem obvious to some people but you'll be surprised how many people don't follow these common sense methods.

  • Enumerate 5 or 10 top issues that you care about.
  • For each issue, determine the various sides that exist and pick the best that fits your ideal solution.
  • For each candidate on your ballot, find out what their position is for each of the issues. There are several ways you can go about this. You can listen to their speeches, you can watch the debates, you can read what they've written and what legislation they proposed and their actual voting records. You can also find out who contributes to their campaign and which groups have given support behind the candidate.
  • You need to make an assessment on how trustworthy is each candidate. You can usually do this by reconciling what each candidate say or promise and then look for what they actually do once in office.
  • Examine the past record of each candidate and access how effective they have been at their job. Look for results and not only good intentions.
  • For each issue, compare how the candidates match up with your ideal. The candidate that has the highest per cent of agreement with your ideals and the one most trustworthy is usually the right one to vote for.

Some advice on what not to do...

Here are some advice on what not to do.

  • Don't vote just by party line. In fact, it is helpful not to know the party affiliation of the candidate in the beginning. This way you won't be biased in your opinion from the outset.
  • Don't vote because someone else tells you who to vote for. Decide for yourself.
  • Don't be influenced by attack ads or sound bites or rumors and innuendos.
  • Don't be influenced by polls. Many are wrong and some are deceptive.
  • DON'T VOTE if you don't understand the positions . You are not doing your part if you don't spend some time analysing the issues. Your vote might cancel out someone elses.
  • Don't vote for someone just because they are famous or have a well known name. This is not a popularity contest.
  • Finally, you will never get 100% agreement between a candidate and your own views. It is better to vote for a candidate that agrees with you even 50% than to not vote and let the other candidate win who may be less agreeable.

My wish list...

Somethings I wish for...Wouldn't it be nice to have...

  • The web is a great resource. In fact, it has too much information both good and bad. Weeding through all this stuff is hard. It sure would be nice if someone (Google or others) can come up with a simple search tool that will provide valid information concerning any candidate for office. Here is how I envison this might work:

    Enter the NAME and an ISSUE into a search field. It will return the following information.

    1. full name and current office (if any)

    2. short biography including past office.

    3. link to speeches or quotes on the issue at hand.

    4. voting record on this issue (if in office)

    5. attendance record

    6. legislation proposed by candidate relating to this issue if any.

    7. which group or PAC contribute to this candidate.

    8. which groups or unions have officially supported this candidate.

    9. Finally an assessment on what percent "truth" is this candidate based on item 3 and 4 above.

Some additional info

Some miscellaneous links...

Reader Feedback

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    • dwdave lm profile image

      dwdave lm 9 years ago

      Great site I like to see that others are thinking about how they vote. Break party lines and pick candidates based on ability not what political gang they are affiliated with

      I also feel that some issues are used to smokescreen politics


      for more on this , but Jackclee, you are on to something

    • profile image

      democracy_conservator 9 years ago

      Very informative lens. You have some great tips for people on how to vote. I also have a lens on how to make your vote count, and would love it if you would stop by and say hello when you get the chance.

    • Steve Dizmon profile image

      Steve Dizmon 9 years ago from Nashville, TN

      You make many very valid points. I am, however, becoming tired of voting for the lesser of two or three evils. I am tired of voting against a candidate instead of having someone I actually wish to vote for.

      I want to vote for an American, not a Democrat, a Republican, a Libertarian, or some other party label.

      Great and timely lens though and I give it a 5.

    • profile image

      McMick 9 years ago

      I like the sincere, helpful tone of your lens.

      Specifically your "don't" relating to being too devoted to 1 party is well taken.

      You might be interested to know about a journalist, named Robert Samuelson (Washington Post) who writes great political/economics articles.

      He does not vote at any level, so as to maintain his objectivity, yet his articles provide great data.

      Also there is a site called Politifact that focuses on truth telling. Right now it is covering flipflops of each candidate.

      Nice job.

    • profile image

      asmoul89 9 years ago

      I saw your comment asking what significant thing Hillary has done for the people. Check out the "100 Reasons to Support Hillary" module.

    • profile image

      CaptainAmerica 9 years ago

      hey I really enjoyed your lens on this topic. I myself have offerd this advice to some in the past when ever the issue comes up.This is the basic methodology I have employed on these matters.I invite you you and others to visit my lens at

      It's still a work in progress that I intend to add more interesting stuff to so stop by and let me know what you think. I will support your lens on my lens page as well.

    • cstr profile image

      cstr 9 years ago

      Great lens. I have lensrolled this on my Why vote lens.

    • Bonfire Designs profile image

      Bonfire Designs 9 years ago

      Great lens, simple and basic and yet SO much info! Hurray get those voters out there. Hope you'll visit my more humorous side of the candidates lens!

      Hillary Clinton Has Been Calling Me....

    • profile image

      ShortSaleRealtor 9 years ago

      great lens 5 stars 4 u

    • tplus profile image

      tplus 10 years ago

      Congratulations! You are #4 at Who Has the Most Lenses?! I've picked this lens to be featured alongside your name. Come check out your competition!

    • profile image

      cathyromine 10 years ago

      Clinton dropped the ball on the

      health plan she promised for her

      husbands campaign and she will drop

      the ball again.

      We are in a mess, get off this...

      We need leadership not popularity.

      Vote Ron Paul 2008 - Get the

      facts..The underdog can win and we

      desperately need him to.


    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 10 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Hi Jack,

      Another terrific lens. Thanks for the how-to and how-not-to lists and the good advice. Too bad Matt missed your original point. He and others can find more information on Hillary on my lens about her.


    • magnate lm profile image

      magnate lm 10 years ago

      Great lens. Here's some political videos of the 2008 presidential race candidates expressing their views on issues such immigration, the war in Iraq, abortion, gay marriage, etc.

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 10 years ago from Yorktown NY

      Matt, by the way, if Mrs. Clinton really believes in what she says as the quote above, why didn't she propose her own bill as a sitting member of the Senate? Could it be she does not want any limit to partial birth abortion of any abortion for that matters. Wise up and don't drink the coolaid.

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 10 years ago from Yorktown NY

      Matt, I fail to understand the zeal for protecting the abortion rights issue. You would think with all the contraception available and the sex education forced upon our students that abortion would be rare by now. Why the need to abort if not for mere convenience and lack of personal responsibility.

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 10 years ago from Yorktown NY

      Matt, thanks for checking in. I have no bias and no denial about who I am. I am a conservative and proud of it. The example of Mrs. Clinton is just that an example. I can come up with more examples of both Democrats and Republicans. My facts are solid. There is no credible reason for partial birth.

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 10 years ago from Yorktown NY

      Keith, Checkout Unity08 and join to support a new way of politics in America.

    • profile image

      anonymous 10 years ago

      When a system of government does not serve ALL the citizens, but only those with the most money, as ours does, voting only serves to validate a corrupt system. Your vote says that you think the way things are being done is okay!