Making your vote count

Introduced: November 01 2012


IWD Member Linda comments on how a little preparation can make voting a more satisfying experience. If you've ever walked into a voting booth and stared at alot of names that mean nothing to you, this brief guide to knowing the issues and knowing the candidates could make a difference.

Linda's perspective:

I'm always amazed that the country tolerates almost two years of campaigning for a four-year position.  And virtually all the other offices on the ballot are overshadowed, overlooked, ignored by the media until the very last weeks or days before election day. (And with the option of early voting, that timeframe becomes even more important.) The president has only so much power.  All the promises made during campaigning can only be fulfilled if the House and Senate pass bills that reflect those promises.   With the delegates system determining the outcome of the presidential race, it seems to me that individual votes carry far more impact on the direct results for other offices on the ballot -- senate, reps, State's Attorney, judicial, etc. -- plus any referendum or public questions on the ballot.  There is a Supreme Court vacancy on the ballot this year.  I haven't gone into a voting booth in years without a sample ballot already filled out to refer to.


Note from IWD:

A helpful site, by state to find polling place and voter registration information:


In most locations, if you search (using google or other search engine) "sample ballot (your zip code)," you're likely to find a rundown of all candidates, major and minor, and propositions and referendums. In Illinois, this site even compares the candidates' views on many topics. By the way -- did you know there IS a woman running for President? It's Dr. Jill Stein of the Green Party.


If you're still looking for substantive summaries of the two Presidential candidates' views, below is a link to a summary published  in the Washington Post. If you have another source or have comments on anything you read here, please send your comment to

IWD member Linda continues: I don't have a lot of patience for the volume of political speeches, ads and accusations that dominate the media for the better part of at least one and almost two years.  But as the election draws closer, I do rely on informed political analysts to convey their insights and endorsements.  And almost like cramming for a big exam in school, I'll put together a worksheet in the days before an election, noting endorsements by the major dailies and neighborhood publications as well as guidelines by significant organizations such as the League of Women Voters and Independent Voters of Illinois.  And, of course, there are the candidates' own websites.  I especially welcome the grid comparing judicial endorsements by the various bar associations.  (Of course, another friend who had worked in state government falls back on the premise of "when in doubt, vote them out," so I temper endorsements, direct mail pieces and print and broadcast media with that thought in mind, too.)