Now that you’re registered to vote and know when and how you will vote, do you know what will be on your ballot?
One good place to start is BallotReady or vote411.org. Simply enter your address and select the November 3, 2020 election and it will show you the candidates, and sometimes questions, that will appear on your ballot when you go to vote.
Now that you know who or what will be on your ballot, how can you learn more about the candidates, judges or issues?
Many local news sources will cover candidates and often will provide questionnaires or interview them. In central Indiana those news sources include the local television stations, Indianapolis Star, the Indianapolis Business Journal, NUVO, Indianapolis Recorder, La Voz de Indiana, WFYI, WIBC, Chalkbeat and more. Visit their websites or follow them on social media to get updates on their coverage.
Debates can also be very informative in learning candidates views on issues. If you missed a debate, you can often find a recording later.
The Commission on Presidential Debates organizes the debates between the presidential candidates on Sept. 29 and October 22. The vice presidential candidates will debate on October 7.
The IU Public Policy Institute organized a gubernatorial forum with the three candidates for Governor. If you missed you can watch the recording. The Indiana Debate Commission is organizing gubernatorial debates on October 20 and 27. If you miss them, the recordings will be on their website.
Indiana Town Halls organized a debate between the candidates for the 5th Congressional District on September 22. A recording is available on their website.
WFYI and Chalkbeat partnered on A Conversation About Education with Indianapolis Public Schools board candidates. For other school board races, look at local media or search for endorsements of candidates to inform your vote.
Another way to approach the research is to focus on what issues are most important to you and identify some organizations active in that issue that might rate or review candidates. One of the challenges with this approach is that they often only rate incumbents and not challengers.
Whether to retain someone as a judge is often one of the most challenging questions on a ballot to research. The Indiana Courts does post profiles of the Indiana Supreme Court and Court of Appeals judges who are up for retention. And here is an overview of the retention process. The Times of Northwest Indiana also has a nice article explaining judicial retention and the Indiana Lawyer covers the Marion County Judicial Selection Committee’s review of Marion Superior judges.
Review the retention applications for the Marion County Superior Court here.
If you are concerned about deciphering truth from fiction when researching candidates, you might be interested in completing the Canvas module on Information Literacy or using the SIFT method – stop, investigate the source, find trusted coverage, and trace claims, quotes and media back to the original context.
This blog post will be updated as more information and resources become available.