The Best Tools for Informed Election Voting
This year you may be prepared to vote but not yet prepared to vote for any candidate in particular. If you find yourself unsure of where to direct your support, there are plenty of resources to help you find your footing. First of all, you'll want to determine upcoming election dates and deadlines, state voter requirements, and, if necessary, register for absentee ballot voting, all of which you can do at U.S. Vote Foundation. Then, try the tools below to make an informed decision.
Run by the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, the website refers to itself as a "nonpartisan, nonprofit 'consumer advocate' for voters." Offering assessments of the factual accuracy of major political players, FactCheck.org maintains a section of the website dedicated to the 2016 elections.
Project Vote Smart
This website offers several tools for voters, including voting records, politician biographies and contact information, interest group ratings, a collection of public statements, and campaign finance records. Project Vote Smart also issues their own Political Courage Test to measure politicians' willingness to take stances on top issues identified by 200 political scientists, journalists, and thought leaders. If you're feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of candidates or are on the fence, the website provides a tool called Vote Easy to help match you to the candidate with the most compatible views.
Federal Election Commission
The Federal Election Commission provides candidate, PAC, and party campaign finance summaries in their finance reports disclosure database. Regulations as part of the Federal Election Campaign Act are also explained.
You can find your congressional district and find your representative, track bills, ascertain the chairman of committees, peruse historical statistics on legislative action, and even build an app using the website's open source data at GovTrack.us.
The Living Room Candidate
Presidential campaign commercials from 1952 to the present are aggregated at The Living Room Candidate. You'll see how classics like the Daisy Ad compare with those in 2016.
The Endorsement Primary
If you're interested in choosing a candidate based on the political support you anticipate your candidate will receive, the FiveThirtyEight Endorsement Primary page will display data on the number of endorsements received by members of the congress, senators, and governors.
If you believe honesty is the best policy, even for politicians, you may find Politifact's Truth-O-Meter useful. The tool rates statements made by politicians on a scale ranging from True to Pants on Fire false. The Flip-O-Meter measures the extent to which politicians have flipped on issues, and the Promise Meters show whether elected officials have kept promises made during campaign season.