League of Women Voters

Know Your Candidates: Visit Vote411

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We U.S. citizens are readying to vote soon — if we haven’t done so already. This is the heart of our democratic process so please exercise that right. Sometimes that doesn’t feel easy.

Here in late 2020 the coronavirus pandemic is deeply entrenched and many voters are feeling deafened — and maybe even defeated — by the non-stop media clamor of the weeks and days leading up to the election. What we need and can most appreciate just now is some quiet corner to gather ourselves so we can look at and then learn about the candidates that will appear on the Montgomery County ballot, especially those who will guide and administrate here in the county. If you have a computer or a smart phone, you can prepare yourself well.

Find that quiet corner and take along your electronic device. Open it up:

Welcome to VOTE411 (Vote411.org) and welcome to Indiana Voters.gov (indianavoters.in.gov). Let’s start with Indiana Voters.gov. When you visit this site, you can check your voter registration, update your address if you’ve moved, and, though the dates have passed for 2020, Indiana Voters.gov lets you register to vote and apply for an absentee ballot on line and then print the application out. File that away for future reference. The site has much, much more voter information. Feel free to explore and see what you learn. For instance, maybe you’re curious about how military and overseas voting works. (This special vote by mail option allows 10 extra days for service members’ votes to arrive at appropriate clerks’ offices.)

Indiana Voters.gov also gives you a complete list of candidates and questions that appear on your ballot. All you do is type in your name and your county of residence and you’ll be directed from there. Indiana Voters.gov lets you know where to vote as well. Here in Montgomery County we use vote centers. This means you can vote at any polling place. Indiana Voters.gov, though, can remind you of what precinct you live in. Of course, if you live in an Indiana county that still votes by precinct, this is invaluable information.

Once you’ve assured yourself you are prepared to vote and you’ve looked over all the offices that are being contested this fall, it’s time to learn about your individual candidates, especially your local candidates.

To do that, type VOTE411 into your search engine and you will be directed, after a few taps, to a place where you can find information about local candidates, organized clearly by office. On the left side of your screen you’ll see a box that says “Find What’s on Your Ballot.” Tap “Explore Now.” There you will find statements and photos of candidates for Montgomery County school boards, for judgeships, for county council, county commissioners, and all the others. If a local candidate doesn’t have information on VOTE411, it is because said candidate has not returned the questionnaire. (Your local League Active Voter Services coordinator and others reached out many times to candidates whose information does not appear on VOTE411, urging them to participate.)

VOTE411 was launched by the League of Women Voters Education Fund (LWVEF) in October of 2006. It is a “one-stop-shop” for election related information. It provides nonpartisan information to the public with both general and state-specific information on all aspects of the election process.

Here at the local level, Active Voter Services coordinator, Myra Dunn Abbott, worked countless hours to contact all candidates, provide questions appropriate to each office, and then encourage candidates to submit their information so voters are able to learn about who they are voting for. We are pleased to make this resource available to Montgomery County citizens. As an educated voter you will be proud to consider each candidate for each office individually before you cast your vote. You have paused and thought and compared and then voted. Thank you.

The League of Women Voters has fought since 1920 to improve U.S. systems of government and impact public policies through education and advocacy. The League’s enduring vitality and resonance comes from its grassroots nature, with members operating at the national, state, and local levels working toward the goal of “making democracy work.”

The League of Women Voters is strictly nonpartisan. It neither supports nor opposes candidates for office at any level of government. The League makes a difference at every level of government because of the energy and passion of thousands of members around the country who work together to safeguard our democracy. There are State Leagues in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Hong Kong, in addition to the hundreds of local Leagues nationwide. LWV has been the trusted source for non-partisan information for a century.

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