How to research who is on the bottom of your ballot

Politics

INDIANAPOLIS– Research shows most people do not know every candidate listed on their ballot outside of president or governor.

However, it’s those local races that will impact voters more on a day-to-day basis.

Imagine a world where the upcoming election didn’t make you immediately think about the president, congress, or your next governor of Indiana.

“I’m not terribly optimistic that will happen, but that would be a nice world to live in,” said Steven Webster, an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Indiana University.

It’s unlikely because research shows local races impact you more often, but most people don’t even know who is on the ballot for things like school board or judge.

“It’s always kind of been this way,” said Webster. This is one of the paradoxes of democracy.”

Webster said most people use their party affiliation to guide who they choose if they don’t know anything about a candidate.

“Since school board officials, in particular, don’t have this partisan label, I think we are seeing lots of people not voting for these races because of that,” said Webster.

Rise Indy is hoping to change this trend.

“Any world-class city requires a thriving public education system,” said Jasmin Shaheed Young, President and CEO of Rise Indy.

The organization brought more than 5,000 community members together to create a report on how to make education better in Indiana.

The idea is voters can use it as a guide when choosing which candidate is the best fit to improve schools.

“How do we make sure that students aren’t falling even further behind?” said Young.

She recommends looking up who is on your ballot ahead of time and researching them by visiting their websites, social media pages, or other local voter resources. Many candidates host meet and greets in person or virtually.

If you’re looking for easy resources to research local judge races, click here.

To see the races you’ll be voting on, head to indianavoters.in.gov, and click who’s on the ballot.

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