The other day my daughter asked me. "I want to be a responsible voter, but I don't have time to read everything and do a lot of research. Can you tell me how to learn about the issues and the candidates in the least amount of time possible?"
Most of us don't have time to study politics and issues in depth. We are busy with our families, our jobs, our church and community activities. Here are a few suggestions.
1. Focus on issues, not on personalities. We are choosing leaders who (hopefully) will serve us and make our country and communities a better place. We are not choosing a best actor for an Academy Award. You could even start by making a personal list of issues that are most important to you: freedom, health care, national security,education, income inequality, jobs, etc. before you start your research.
2. Read party platforms. They are available online. Here is the National Republican Party Platform https://gop.com/platform/ I think it is the best platform we have had in years. (One thing I found interesting is what it says about term limits. I think we desperately need term limits for Congress and I had assumed that we will have to have a convention of states to get them. But in the platform I learned that the Republicans have introduced term limits in Congress several times only to be defeated by Democrats.) At the bottom of this page are links to the Utah and Salt Lake County Republican Party websites. Their platforms are pretty much the same. Here is the Salt Lake County Republican Party Platform and here is the Utah Republican Party Platform.
3. Go to http://vote.utah.gov. Explore this web site and you will find a wealth of information. You can even register to vote here or make changes to your registration, up until 7 days before the election. You can enter your address and locate a sample ballot. The voter information packet is on this web site. You can request a paper copy be mailed to you, but everything is online and with the sample ballot feature it will be individualized for you. Here is where you can learn about the propositions and the arguments for and against. Here is where you can learn about the judges who will be on the ballot for our approval or disapproval.
4. I like the web site http://www.realclearpolitics.com/ This is much more efficient than Facebook. There are polls. There are links to some of the best articles all across the nation. Much of the stuff on Facebook leads you to disgusting ads and is biased in a ridiculous way. And some of them are also on Real Clear Politics. (Here is an interesting article I just found about other candidates besides Donald Trump who suggested prosecuting their opponent. http://thefederalist.com/2016/10/10/16-times-democrats-tried-to-prosecute-their-opponents/ ) Real Clear Politics is the web site to be watching on Election Night.
5. There is always this blog with news and announcements for the voters of Precinct WJD030.. I will continue to post things that I think will be helpful. I like to read a lot and I want to write reviews telling some of the things that I have learned. And if anyone wants to write a guest blog post that will be great.
6. I will be getting the DVD of Dinesh D'Sousa's Hillary's America, the Secret History of the Democratic Party http://hillarysamericathemovie.com/#trailer from Amazon today. Ron and I have seen it in the theater and highly recommend it. Call me if you want to borrow it.
7. There are a number of online presentations that are very informational. If you didn't have time to go to the Socialism Destroys Freedom Event recently held at Cottonwood High School you can watch it online. I will post the site later when I find it. There are lots of events online at My Faith Votes. My favorite so far is An Honest Discussion About a Difficult Election. https://www.myfaithvotes.org/honestdiscussion
8. Don't forget to research local issues and candidates. Your vote is even more important on the local and state level. Most candidates have web sites. Sometimes there are Meet the Candidate Events, but not so much this year. There are broadcasts of debates on public television and some of them are later put on line. For example if you missed the debate between Governor Gary Herbert and Mike Weinholtz you can watch it here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nHa3JaV75lg&feature=youtu.be For other debates check out Utah Debate Commission.
9. There are many more things you can do to become more informed. I hope this information is helpful. A good motto is "Pray Think Vote." Really really pray. Really really think about the implications to our community, our state, our country, to our constitution and to our civilization. Take your vote seriously. Vote like your vote is the deciding vote. Some good questions to ask yourself are: Am I basing my decision on me, and my feelings and my conscience or upon the greater good, the common good of society? Am I looking at personalities or upon policies that will result from electing various candidates? Which candidates best reflect my values? Is my vote more focused on the next 30 days or on the next 30 years? #PrayThinkVote