The Informed Voter’s Guide to Election Day

I have sat by long enough, watching my town; my community and my state remain in a state of Kool-Aid-induced-coma, long enough. Many will choose to remain in that fog, as they have developed a real taste for the Kool-Aid. However, if a handful of people read this post and are able to emerge without any permanent brain damage to become a well-informed voter; then I have accomplished what I set out to do.

In this post, I will show you what my ballot looks like – where to find a copy of yours – and how I research each candidate to ensure they have earned my vote. Keep reading…

Who’s on Your Ballot (I’ll Show You Mine)

U.S. President

  • (D) Barack Obama
  • (R) Mitt Romney
  • (L) Gary Johnson

Senator

  • (D) Joe Donnelly
  • (R) Richard Mourdock
  • (L) Andrew Horning

Governor

  • (D) John Gregg
  • (R) Mike Pence
  • (L) Rupert Boneham

Attorney General

  • (D) Kay Fleming
  • (R) Greg Zoeller

Superintendent of Public Instruction (Schools)

  • (D) Glenda Ritz
  • (R) Tony Bennett

US Representative

  • (D) Bradley Bookout
  • (R) Luke Messer
  • (L) Rex Bell

State Senator – District 42

  • (R) Jean Leising

State Representative – District 54

  • (R) Tom Saunders
  • (L) Jeremiah Morrell

Henry County Circuit Court Judge

  • (R) Kit Crane

County Coroner

  • (D) Landon Dean
  • (R) Stephen Hacker

Commissioners by District

   Middle –

  • (D) Larry Brayton
  • (R) Kim Cronk
  • (I) Alan McCraine

   Southern –

  • (D) Mark Cronk
  • (R) Ed Yanos

Council at Large

  • (D) Whit Blattner
  • (D) Dale Cole
  • (D) Jeffery Hancock
  • (R) Harold Griffin
  • (R) Clay Morgan
  • (R) Mike Thalls

The remainder of the ballot is for school board members of which are marked Non-Partisan. Prior to the election, I will conduct searches on each one to uncover as much about them as a person that I possibly can.

Public Question Details

Supreme Court Justice Retention

  • Robert D. Rucker
  • Steven H. David

Court of Appeals Retention

  • Nancy H. Vaidik
  • John G. Baker
Indiana – Candidate List by County and District

All Indiana residents have the ability to see who is on their ballot for their own county and district. By going to this link: https://indianavoters.in.gov/PublicSite/PublicMain.aspx

Just below the halfway point, there is a section titled "What Would You Like to Do?" Under that title, you will select the third option down "Review Candidates on My Ballot" At that point, you will:

  • Select your county from the drop down menu
  • Enter Last Name
  • Enter First Name
  • Enter Date of Birth
  • Click FIND

I highly recommend you check each and every candidate out – find as much information on them as you possibly can and make your decision from there.

Ways to Search – How I Dig In Deep!

The four ways I conduct my own searches are:

Search ONE:  www.google.com

In the search box I type the candidate name INSIDE quotations. Example: "Barack Obama"  Outside the quotes I will search a variety of keywords. Examples of complete search term/phrase:

  • "Barack Obama" election
  • "Barack Obama" voting record
  • "Barack Obama" issues
  • "Barack Obama" family

Conducting those searches will pull up information that will help me form a well-informed opinion. Although I am very careful to explore several links – because we know how biased some networks can be.

Search TWO – Project Vote Smart www.votesmart.org

From the upper right corner, you can search by zip code. If your district is like mine, you may need to put in your 9-digit ZIP Code.

If you’re not sure what that is, you can visit http://www.usps.com/ – on the left side of the screen, under heading "Always a Click Away" select the Look Up a ZIP Code option. Input your address and enter. This will return the full address using standard abbreviations and 9-digit ZIP Code you’ll need for the VoteSmart search.  Mine looks like this:

9 digit zip code extension search

I go back to VoteSmart.org, enter my 9-digit ZIP Code and get results that look like this:

vote smart search results for Indiana

Once on this screen, you will click on the + sign next to the office you wish to investigate. Once the list has expanded, click on the person you are interested in to get instant access to his/her Biography, Voting Record, Interest Group Ratings, Issue Positions, Public Statements, and Campaign Finances.

Vote Smart Indiana Congressional Candidates

Personally, I’ll be checking all candidates, but especially Andrew Horning, because I know very little about him. I will click on his name to I can’t cast an informed vote if I don’t explore all the candidates and I REFUSE to vote a straight ticket blindly.

Search THREE – Project Vote Easy www.votesmart.org/voteeasy

Project Vote Smart developed a great tool that allows you to easily select an issue that’s important to you, then see which candidate’s are most aligned with your personal views.

I was actually surprised at the results of my own investigations. Even this late in the game, it looks like I’ll be changing my voting choices.

Search FOUR – Open Secrets – Follow the Money in Politics www.opensecrets.org

I’m surprised that so many people don’t realize that politicians, especially those in Washington have substantial amounts of money that come from lobbyists. Although it is good to know, of those who are aware of the major spending that goes on, the majority of 804 poll takers would like to see corporate money out of politics too!

Why You Should Follow the Money

One example of grotesque behavior is the case of check-cashing lobbyists spending massive amounts of money to defeat regulations that would limit the fees payday lenders could charge. 

In 2009, payday lending was a $40 billion industry made up of about 23,000 lenders. These lenders include Check ’n Go, Advance America, Cash America and Check Into Cash. These lenders provide short-term loans to borrowers who agree to pay back the loan plus interest at their next payday. This industry charges extremely steep fees for loans that generally last two weeks. When calculated at an annualized rate, these loans reflect a rate that amounts to 391 percent.

WHO DOES THAT?!?!?! And even worse – WHO SUPPORTS THAT?!?!?!

In 2009, that made up about $7 billion in fees. The payday loan industry spent $440,000 for six lobbying contracts in Q4 of 2008.

Consumer advocates rallied behind a bill that would enforce a 36 percent annual cap on interest rates. However, according to a research analyst that follows that industry, that cap would shut the payday loan industry down. As far as I know and have seen, payday lenders are still thriving by taking advantage of people who are in desperate need of money or are too ignorant to figure out exactly how much more the loans will cost them in the long run.

So where did that money go? Who voted to shoot down regulations? You can follow the money on Open Secrets! Follow the money in politics and you’ll clearly see where a politicians loyalties lie. Are those loyalties with you or are they connected to those who line their pockets?

Dig in – I think you’ll be as surprised as I am that politicians are being bought on both sides of the isle – many of them, in a very big way.

Another great resource for following the money is the Business and Lobbying section of The Hill

Do you consider yourself an informed voter? What resources of information do you turn to in order to help support your decision on election day?

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