Voting as an informed citizen
Director of voter registration for the League of Women Voters of the South Bend Area
Vote411.org is the League of Women Voters’ “one-stop shop” for voting information. League volunteers from around the country keep this site up to date each election season. On the macro level, you’ll find information on how to register to vote and polling locations. It also populates a sample ballot that allows you to compare candidate answers—in their own words—to a variety of policy questions.
The Indiana Secretary of State’s voter website is where residents can access information about who’s on the ballot. You can also register to vote on this website. A registered voter may request an absentee ballot, check their registration status or polling location and change their registration address.
Work the Polls
There is more than one way to be an engaged citizen. One way is to vote; another is to participate by assisting at the polls on election day. This state-run website gives Indiana residents information on how to be a poll worker. Did you know that a student can work the polls at age 16 with permission from a parent or guardian? What a terrific way to see democracy in action!
Brennan Center for Justice
The Brennan Center is a nonpartisan law and policy institute, and whenever I’m looking for accurate information on “good government,” I tend to cruise over to its website. I became interested in the Brennan Center about 15 years ago when the issue of partisan gerrymandering and redistricting reform became a passion of mine. The center consistently earned my trust, and I continue to return to it after all of these years.
If you are looking for data on politicians, Vote Smart is the place to find it. It is a truly amazing compilation of biographies, issue positions, voting records, public statements, interest-group ratings and political funders. The site doesn’t track votes as much at the local level, but it definitely monitors all the legislative votes and campaign contributions for elected state and federal officials.
This YouTube video from the Washington Post describes the process of gerrymandering. I believe strongly that the health of our democracy depends not only on engaged and informed voters, but also on the principle of one person, one vote. I am an advocate for redistricting reform, specifically in Indiana. Recent cases heard by the U.S. Supreme Court have brought attention to this important issue and hopefully highlight the need for reforming the way legislative district lines are drawn.