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Make sure to be well-informed on each candidate before voting

Published 6:00am Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The general election is less than a week away and unless you’ve been under a rock, that fact is pretty obvious.

Political ads are in full swing on every TV channel and radio station. Random pollers and telemarketers have been calling your cell phones or land lines, probably right at dinnertime or just as your child has gone to sleep.

Social media is abuzz with opinions on candidates and various issues facing our country today.

The talking heads have been talking non-stop, scrutinizing every action by both presidential candidates and analyzing what each one means.

If you’re like me, you’re pretty sick and tired of it all.

But if you can cut through the thick layer of political mumbo-jumbo and tune out the background noise, you might actually get down to the facts that face us today, both at the national level and the local level.

I realize I am only 25 years old, so I do not have years and years of political/voting experience to make me an expert on the topic.

But I do have a very politically-minded family who made me aware that voting, and more specifically, voting for the BEST candidate in any given election, was vitally important to how our country, state, county and city function.

I have taken that information to heart over the years and feel the very best advice I could give any registered voter is to BE INFORMED.

At the national level, getting informed can be tricky because of the aforementioned mumbo-jumbo floating through the airwaves waiting to confuse unsuspecting voters.

And most people have their minds made up at this point who they will be voting for as the next president of the United States.

However, if you haven’t made this decision, do you know what you believe? Do you know what you support?

Or even if you have made up your mind, do you know why you made the decision you did?

Do you really know which candidate best supports your views and values?

While social media has its pitfalls, it does have some good points, like introducing me to an interesting website called isidewith.com.

This website has set up a series of questions for you to answer on a wide and varied range of topics from national security to foreign policy to economic standings to gay rights to the use of welfare and many more.

You give your opinion on these topics and at the end of the questions, the website tells you which candidate currently running for president best lines up with your views overall and then who you best lined up with in certain categories (like social issues, foreign policy, etc.)

I will not divulge who best lined up with me overall, but it was interesting to see that on a few topics, I lined up with a completely different candidate than I was expecting.

My advice would be for those who, like I said earlier, have not decided who they will vote for or who made a decision but aren’t sure what that decision is based on, to check out this site and see who best represents you.

As far as local elections go, the advice is still the same: BE INFORMED.

While there isn’t a website dedicated to seeing which local candidates best line up with your views, here at The Franklin County Times we have made an effort to give you both sides of the story through our Getting to Know Your Candidates feature that we had before the primary elections and that we revived the past few weeks for the county candidates on the ballot this Tuesday.

Look at those articles, either in the paper or online.

Take in a candidate’s views, their proposed approach to fix certain issues, their qualifications, their willingness to roll up their sleeves and get to work.

As much as the national election will affect us here in Franklin County, how much more do you think the local election will affect us here in Franklin County?

Locally and nationally, these people will be representing you and working for you for the next four (or more) years.

I don’t know about you, but that isn’t something I take lightly. I want to do everything in my power to make sure the best candidate gets the job.

So get involved, get informed and cast your vote this Tuesday.

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