Tuesday is Election Day. And there’s likely a whole lot more on your ballot than the vote for president. Voters will also choose their national, state and local representatives. And several states will have ballot measures on issues like marijuana legalization and the death penalty.
So what’s on your ballot, and what does it mean?
A number of websites, apps and social media platforms provide tools to remind you to vote, help find your polling place and provide information on the races and initiatives on your ballot. We previewed a few to get you ready for your civic duty.
The “Tinder for politics”
Brigade, which has been described as “the Tinder for politics” is a social network that relies on a set of questions to gauge where you stand ideologically and build your personal profile. Using both information from that profile and civic data from your voting district, it then creates your “social ballot.” Brigade users can look up information on 13,000 races this cycle, said Matthew Mahan, the company’s CEO, from high-profile Senate contests to obscure local elections and ballot initiatives. The process, he added, was designed to prepare voters ahead of time, so they don’t feel overwhelmed with choices on voting day.
“We’ve tried to make it simple, social and empowering by giving people [information] to get their friends involved and to get their friends to vote.”
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So far, users have sent friends and acquaintances more than 1 million peer-to-peer invitations to vote for a candidate or a ballot initiative using the app, according to the network. More than 300,000 people have pledged to vote for a candidate or a ballot initiative, while more than 100,000 users have been matched to their publicly available voter file.
Once the presidential election ends, Mahan said the company plans to continue building civic engagement and encourage users to vote in non-presidential elections.
Reminder: It’s time to vote
Facebook also rolled out a new vote-planning feature this cycle to help users see who and what will be on their ballot. The service shows users the location of their polling place and reminds them to cast their vote on Election Day.
Don Seymour, a Facebook politics and government outreach manager, said the feature was intended to “give more people a voice in the political process.”
In Facebook’s platform, voters can see a candidate’s positions and public endorsements, among other information. Once users fill out the vote planner, Seymour said, they can email the information to themselves to take with them to the polls, share it with their Facebook friends or find their polling place.
Video provided to PBS NewsHour by Facebook
Facebook also launched a separate feature this cycle that alerted users of voter registration deadlines during the primaries. A Facebook official said the reminder system helped register more than 2 million people in 2016.
Just Google it
Don’t have Facebook or Brigade? Then just Google “my ballot” or “who’s on my ballot,” and the search engine giant will give you a sample ballot of the candidates running for office and the ballot referendums up for a vote in your location. The search also gives voters information on how to get registered (if registration is still open in their state), the location of their polling place and voting identification requirements.