Civic Engagement Series: Know your Candidates

Civic Engagement Series: Know your Candidates
By: Beth Ireland Last Updated: May 28, 2020

Editor’s note: This is the third article in the Civic Engagement Series. For information about how to cast your ballot, click here. For a personal perspective on the value of voting in local elections from GreatNews.Life founder Chris Mahlmann, click here.

On June 2, 2020, Indiana voters will cast their votes in the primary election. A primary election differs from a general election in that voters are choosing candidates from their individual parties to decide who will be on the party ticket in the November general election. 

In Indiana primary elections, voters are asked to claim their party and will be given the appropriate ballot that matches their choice. They can then vote for candidate they want to run on their party ticket.

For both parties, knowing who is running and what they stand for is important. You can learn who is on the ballot in the county where you are registered to vote by visiting https://indianavoters.in.gov/ and clicking Who's On the Ballot. Fill out the box that looks like this:

ballot

Click submit and you will see a list of candidates on your ballot. Voters should learn as much as they can about candidates beforehand to make an informed decision. This can be difficult to do in today's tumultuous political climate that is fueled by aggressive social media and advertising campaigns that can be based on slamming opponents instead of informing voters on the issues. But facts are available from non-partisan sites, and there are even opportunities to meet candidates in person or watch candidate forums online, on TV, or via radio.

Helpful Websites

The https://www.vote411.org/indiana is a resource for general voting information but they also have a “what’s on your ballot” section. Just click “learn more” under “Find what’s on your Ballot” and you will be prompted to then enter your address. You will then choose which party you would like to view (you can also choose “view all” to see every candidate). You will also be asked to choose your language. After that, just click on “Go to my races” and a handy guide will give you information on not only what each office does but who is running.

voter guide

For candidates who are already elected officials, you can go to http://wayeo.egis.39dn.com/#, type in your street address, or even just the city you live in, and a list of who your elected officials are will appear on the side with a link to each Federal and State official’s website.

Another resource is https://ballotpedia.org/Main_Page. You can enter your address, or just your city and state, and a list of candidates who are on your local ballot will be generated. You can then click on which candidate you would like more information about. Some candidates will have even completed a survey for Ballotpedia and have a brief biography available.

Dig deeper at https://justfacts.votesmart.org/ to research candidates. You will need to know who is on your ballot, and again, you can find that information here https://indianavoters.in.gov/. At Vote Smart you can enter any candidate’s name and read their bio, voting record (if they have any), their position on certain topics, and much more.

Vote smart

Candidate forums and interviews

Lakeshore Public Media hosted a discussion with three Democrat candidates running for the 1st Congressional Seat. You can find the discussion here: https://www.lakeshorepublicradio.org/post/mic-may-22-2020?fbclid=IwAR0_zs3KKWUaOuDB6_vbMLsk4GVcRrvH7tGZmi7Lptx0jjtnIrKnvYV9K14#stream/0

On May 29, = WJOB in Hammond, Ind., will broadcast interviews with a few 1st Congressional Seat candidates here: https://www.wjobnetwork.com/nwi-election-2020.html

WVLP 103.1 has interviewed some candidates and may broadcast others before June 2. You can listen via radio at 103.1FM or online at https://wvlp.org/

There are also many Facebook groups and local party websites that have information, videos, and interviews with candidates to help you cast a well-informed vote.

Porter County

The Porter County Republican Party is a great source to get to know Republican candidates. You can find more info here: https://www.facebook.com/pg/PorterCountyGOP/posts/?ref=page_internal 

You can find more information on Democrat candidates through the Porter County Democrat Party Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/portercountydemocrats/

Lake County

For more information on Democratic candidates within Lake County, visit the Lake County Democratic Central Committee: http://lakecountyindems.org/.

Visit the Lake County Republican Party’s Facebook page for more information and interviews on Republicans running. https://www.facebook.com/pg/thelakecountygop/posts/?ref=page_internal

La Porte County

Stay up to date with La Porte County Republican candidates through the La Porte County Republican Party Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/lpcgop/posts/?ref=page_internal

Democrats can find more information on their local Democrat candidates through the La Porte County Democrat Party Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/democrats123/posts/?ref=page_internal