It’s election day. When you wake up, you see the reminder you set for yourself (nice job!). You stroll in to the polling place all smug, pick the candidates you studied up on and then–the ballot issues.
You read the first two lines of the measure and skim the rest after realizing there’s no way you’re going to understand this well enough from the text on the ballot alone (you’re correct).
You leave it empty. Or, go with the party ballot the nice lady in the parking lot handed your overconfident ass on the way in. You make sure you get your sticker but you walk out wondering what you just did. Or so they say, I’m… recalling for a friend.
But ballot measures shouldn’t be forgotten. They cover important issues in your community: drug policy, abortion, taxes, healthcare, rules for future elections, and more.
If you give yourself the time to do a little research, you can earn that sticker for a real one. Go to this list of Ballot Measures by State and get familiar with the issues you’ll see on your ballot in November. Then, check out your county board of elections website for something like this list of certified ballot issues.
Then, find strong sources and learn about their takes. Sometimes the impact of a proposed policy changes is speculative, but there are data you can reference, legislative precedents, and experts who study this stuff for a living. If you aren’t sure where to start, ask a friend you trust for sources to read up, using those media literacy skills we covered in our very first sustainable steps! When ballot issues are complicated we are more vulnerable to misinformation.
It’s worth 15 minutes of your day to get acquainted with these issues–they made it to the ballot because they will impact you and your neighbors.
image: Sam Kalda