The Illinois primary elections are on Feb 5th. So being a good citizen, I thought I do some research on the candidates and issues. So I got a sample of the Democratic Primary Election ballot, so I can research the issues. Download Dem08_specballot.pdf (PDF). From a design perspective, we still need to work on the non-centered type thing it seems.
The good thing is that sites like Project Vote Smart provides good information about current Federal and State officials. I got good information on the voting records for Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama (Obama has a lot of Non-Votes in his record), and Senator Dick Durbin (whom I am really coming to like). Project Vote Smart is a good source for State incumbent records, but has no information on their yet-to-be tested opponents.
For example, I have to vote for a State Senator for the 5th district. The incumbent is Senator Rickey Hendon and his opponents listed were Jonathan Singh Bedi and Amy Sue Mertens. I was able to find Bedi and Mertens's campaign websites but they all said the same thing (i.e. I am pro-education funding, pro-ending poverty, pro-safety, pro-CTA funding.) They do not say how they are going to accomplish any of this, at least not in any detail that would help me make a decision. So not wanting to base such an important decision on the quality of their website designs, I turned to newspaper articles or people's blogs to get a sense of what the candidates will do. Why is it that we base such decisions on what politician's attitudes are versus their behaviors? Even when we get the facts of people's behaviors, we still focus on what they said. I got some issues where there were reports on debates, but I may end up having to vote based on the quality of their website designs. This is not as superficial a reason, because it indicates to me the extent to which the candidate values communication with their constituents, who may not have the leisure to go attend a debate.
What are always challenging elections are the judicial ones for me. I was told a long time ago to visit the Chicago Bar Association who does evaluations on the qualifications of judges. They have recommendations for every election except for this one it. Perhaps, it will be coming out in a week or so. We only have one public question this election, but it pretty straightforward on whether to make it mandatory for the Fed. gov to fully fund the Department of Veterans Affairs.
So if I can get my hands on the CBA's recommendations, I would feel like a semi-informed voter.
So Go Vote Smartly!!!