Simple Ways to Vote Smartly

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Making the decision to vote is already a laudable decision. Elections in democratic countries across the globe have been plagued by low voter turnouts at some point in the past years. For this reason, the people who participate by voting are doing their nations a great service. On the flipside, others’ lack of participation could mean that some important issues will not be addressed given minimal representation. One of the things that should be foremost in people’s minds during elections is that their votes send a message to parties and candidates in regard to which issues they support. Voting wisely is a catchphrase that involves fairly simple steps.

Set expectations

Voting is an investment of time and resources. At some point, you have to deal with voter registration and keep it updated, if needed. You spend time heading to the polls, lining up, and filling up the ballot. Given the amount of time you ultimately have to spend on the process, you might as well make sure that your vote is not wasted. Even if your choice of candidate does not win, getting your vote out there is an exercise of your right to choose and be heard. And your choice and your voice matters. It is important that you are clear about your expectations from yourself and from the candidate or party you are supporting. Know what you want. This makes it easier to review your options.

Know what to look for

Know what you require from a candidate. What qualities are you looking for? Would you vote for someone perceived to be nice but does not have a proven track record? Are you going to stick with political party loyalty or would you consider voting from another party? Knowing what you are looking for in a candidate helps you judge who deserves to get your vote.

Look beyond personality

Being nice does not guarantee competence and integrity. There are many nice-looking people around who fail miserably in terms of depth of character. Politicians are well-adept at playing nice. It would be political suicide for them not to unless it serves a purpose. Look beyond initial impressions when it comes to personality and see other factors that would make a candidate a suitable choice.

Learn about the candidate’s platform

Find out the candidate’s platform. Learn what the person’s stand on local, national, and global issues. Watch debates or read up on interviews and other articles that may provide you with more insights on the candidates’ views on issues and policies.

Consider credentials and credibility

In the end, one of the questions every voter needs to ask is if the candidate would make a good leader. This may be difficult to know for sure. But consider credentials, credibility, and track record. These things should provide you with a glimpse of what you can expect from the person as a leader.

Voting and the Media – Making Informed Choices

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The media have not been exempt from criticisms on how they communicate election related messages across the globe. There have been accusations of biased or selective reporting. Reports of corruption have also raised doubts on the integrity of some people delivering the news in different forms. But despite the negative issues surrounding media and elections, the former’s role in voting remain important.

Raising awareness

Reporting on election related news raise awareness on what is happening in that front. It provides opportunities for discussions among voters and non-voters alike. It brings issues to the forefront that would give people something to ponder on.

Serving as a tool to communicate key messages

Imagine a world without media. It would be a lot quieter, but not entirely in a good way. While some people may think of some reports as “noise”, news provide information that matter for most of the time. Media play a critical role in communicating key messages from candidates and political parties. This helps voters make informed decisions come election day.

Providing a platform for debates

Debates are fodder for election education. They provide candidates and political parties to discuss and defend their stance on issues. They allow voters to learn more not only about candidates’ views but also their plans on how to resolve issues they are advocating for. Debates also provide a glimpse into the character of people vying for office. They provide opportunities for voters to assess competence and ability to deal with pressure.

Keeping track of results

Election news help keep people track not just of the campaigns but also through the voting and counting periods. Media reports make it easier for voters to know what is going on. The focus given on vote counting likewise makes it more difficult for anyone who may want to circumvent laws by cheating.

Assessing efficiency and effectiveness

Reporting about processes provide voters with an idea on their efficiency and effectiveness. It puts a spotlight on what may be working and what may require improvements. It helps stakeholders involved in managing electoral processes to make assessments that may lead to further improvements.

How to Make Your Vote Count

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Thinking that one vote does not make much of a difference makes it easier to eschew the right to do it. With so many challenges and issues facing voters today, many choose to be uninvolved in the election process. This may be a choice everyone in a democratic country is free to make. But it does not help a nation and its people in the long run. People need to make their voices be heard if they want to see changes. One person’s vote may seem insignificant, but it can be a catalyst for change if put to good use. Here are some of the things voters can do to make their votes count.

Let your vote speak for you

Everyone has something to complain about with the laws at some point. It can be over a small issue or something so big that leaves you feeling helpless about seeing any change. But complaining or enduring silently is unproductive. It does not accomplish anything except maybe stress you out for a while. Ignoring the problem only allows it to fester. If there is anyone at voting age can do, it would be to engage in the process of choosing leaders who will have the power to effect needed changes.

Vote in every election

Every election matters. Sometimes most of the hype may be focused at presidential nominees. But beyond the personalities running for the highest office are other candidates who will potentially become policy makers if elected. There are also several issues at stake that impact everyone at some level. If you want to make your vote count, you have to choose to stay engaged and involved in every election.

Learn what is at stake

Know more about the candidates’ credentials and their stand on issues that matter to you. Make objective assessments across different parties, if needed. Supporting a specific party should not preclude taking on a broader perspective. Use your vote wisely by choosing a candidate or political party that envisions the best possible solutions or policies to the issues at hand.

Stay informed

Avoid living in a proverbial bubble. Stay informed about what is happening around you both at the local and global scene. Know what pressing issues that leaders should have the power to address but may be failing to do so.

Promote voter participation

An individual vote does not seem like it could make a big difference. But imagine if hundreds of thousands or millions of people would think the same way and choose not to vote. It would be a waste to have so many people not using their votes to create the changes they want to see. You can make the most of your vote not just by turning in your ballot come election day. You can also make a difference by encouraging the people around you to vote.