Participatory Democracy in the United States
- 2020 really drove home one thing: if you are over 18 and not a felon, you are to blame for who is in charge, especially if you didn't vote. The responsibility for selecting the right leaders and judges and political officials is yours. That's a lot of power, and it takes a lot of work to pull it off so that you don't hire the wrong person. Personally I researched the people I voted for over the course of two months. Also every ballot measure, and I looked through the legal cases of every judge on the ballot before I voted. I looked at every website I could for every politician on the ballot, even the local dudes. Wikipedia, OnTheIssues, Reuters, all kinds of news sources, their campaign websites, followthemoney.org, every place I could find even a scrap of info. Seriously anyone telling me to "do my research" ever again is getting a big fat middle finger.
- A website that helps you register to vote Turbovote
- How Elections Work: USA.gov/election
- A comprehensive guide for how to get involved Instructable Guide
- Sample ballots: Ballotpedia Vote-USA BallotReady
- Federal Elections Commission – candidates for public office are required by law to disclose where they get their funding, and you can find at least some of that data here FEC
- Follow The Money – a nonprofit website that details where candidates get their funding. Generally more detailed than the FEC Follow The Money
- On The Issues: summarizes candidates’ viewpoints On The Issues
- VoteSmart: another website that attempts to summarize candidates’ viewpoints; a little clunkier and harder to use but still valuable VoteSmart
- Note 1: just like communicating with a business or company to provide feedback, you can email, call or write letters to the public officials who represent you, including judges, Senators, members of Congress, Governors, and of course those in the White House. I have actually seen changes happen in my life that were possibly thanks to this so don’t knock it.
- Note 2: Without a sample ballot, it’s nearly impossible to figure out who will be on it without something like a week’s worth of research. They usually aren’t complete, so you have to look at multiple sample ballots unless you’re a mail-in voter and have the luxury of a few days to look at your real ballot.
- Note 3: The Democrat and Republican internal political machinery are in charge of which candidates get the most publicity and funding. There is little to no oversight or transparency for both parties. Therefore, it is wise to do your own research about candidates instead of blindly accepting who these parties choose to endorse
Big Brain Time