Billy’s “How to be an informed voter in Chicago’s Primary Election next Tuesday”

Ok… First a few websites to check voter registration status and all that….

Chicago Board of Elections if you live in the city of Chicago.

If you live in Cook County, but not in Chicago, you’ll want the Cook County Board of Elections site.

If you click on the voter status box, you can check to make sure you’re registered and when the confirmation page comes up, you can download a sample ballot in pdf form that will allow you to see in advance what you will see on Tuesday in the voting booth. Since this is a primary election, you have to choose which party ballot you want to vote, Democratic, Republican or Green Party.

Once you download it, you’ll see a list of all the races you can vote in. Some may seem more important than others, but really, they all affect you and we kind of need people to pay attention to what’s happening from the local to county to federal level. Including the judges.

It’s a lot of names, most you’ve probably never heard of before. So now what? How to avoid being a low information voter? I use several resources. The list below is from the Chicago League of Women Voters:

The Chicago Sun-Times has a link to the eVoter page, which has a wealth of candidate information.

The Chicago Tribune Editorial Board has a list of candidate responses to questionnaires as well as video interviews:

Chicago Appleseed Fund for Justice links to the VoteForJudges site. I know the long list judges are a pain to vote for, but it’s really important. Oddly enough, in your lifetime, you’re more likely to find yourself in front of a judge than a Senator or President of the United States. Think about it.

I always make it a point to check the Windy City Times for their endorsements for candidates and for judges.

But Billy, you might be saying, you dig chicks. Why are you looking at the recommendations from the Windy City Times? My friends, you don’t have to be gay to be a good gay voter. Just like you didn’t have to be black to vote for strong civil rights issues in the 60s. Trust the gays. They know what they’re doing.

So by collecting all of this information ranging from both conservative (Chicago Tribune) and liberal (Windy City Times) fronts, I feel pretty good about knowing the whole story.

Take your sample ballot that you just downloaded and begin filling it in using the information you now have in front of you. Then come Tuesday, voting will be quick and easy. You can bring your sample ballot or any other notes you have into the election booth. The only thing you can’t bring into the election booth is any kind of campaign literature that might be construed as you trying to influence other voters.

Now get out there and be a high-information voter!!!

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