What Does It Mean to be an Informed Voter in 21st Century America?

This week, the Think the Vote contest is taking on a different form. True to the title of “Think the Vote,” we want to ask you to consider and respond to an open question. November 3rd is Election Day, and much has been said in the past few months about the importance of voting. While encouraging the largest percentage of the population as possible to vote is valuable, it is also important that we cast our votes in a well-reasoned way. In other words, voting has not just a quantitative aspect but also a qualitative one. We should not just blindly cast a vote for the sake of “civic duty,” but rather should ensure our selections are rooted in deeper principles and convictions.

We are asking students to answer the question: What Does it Mean to be an Informed Voter in 21st Century America? Even if you are not of voting age, you are still encouraged to answer this question! Please note that since this is not a Yes/No question, you may select either option in order to write your response. Additionally, we encourage you to up/down vote and agree/counter other’s posts.

Note: Ideal Think the Vote responses include the following:

-Address the question asked in a thoughtful and meaningful manner

-Use cited facts and constitutional arguments when appropriate to support their answers

-Are expressed in cohesive sentences and are free of distracting spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors

-They organize their answer in a manner that flows logically and reads clearly

Current Standings:
Yes: 90%
No: 10%
  • William from Oklahoma

    Being an informed voter means going to multiple sources before making a decision. There are a lot of biased sources so people need to make sure that they are getting their information from multiple unbiased ones. It doesn’t matter how much research people do if the information they are looking at is incorrect or heavily biased.

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    Being an informed voter means going to multiple sources before making a decision. There are a lot of biased sources so people need to make sure that t…

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  • genevieve from Oklahoma

    Voting, in general, is extremely important but voting for what’s right is where it actually matters. Being an informed voter is knowing why you are voting, what you are voting for, and why you’re voting for it. You could easily register, get your ballot, and fill in a couple of holes to call it done but, truly, what did you just vote for? What did you just say was okay when you made your marks? Do you truly know what you just voted for and said ‘yes, I want this.”? Know what you are voting for, know what you want and why you want it. Read about both candidates and understand all motives. make sure you know how this will affect your country. Ask yourself, “Who will this affect? “How will this affect me or the people around me?” “Can I tell people proudly what I voted for?” It’s being able to explain what you voted for and being able to say why you voted for it. If you can’t say your political views proudly, then maybe they shouldn’t be your political views…

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    Voting, in general, is extremely important but voting for what’s right is where it actually matters. Being an informed voter is knowing why you are vo…

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  • Allison from Oklahoma

    Being an informed voter is crucial to the citizens of America. Being an informed voter means one researches on an unbiased source what each party stands for. One also must determine what they stand for. They have to vote on what they believe in. Lots of people don’t vote. Maybe they don’t care who wins, or they don’t want to leave their house. They may also think their vote doesn’t matter. If everyone who thought that voted, their vote would probably matter. One should also be an informed voter to back up whom they are voting for and why. If they are voting for Person A just because their friends are, that is not an informed voter. They then might realize that Person A doesn’t want what they want when Person A becomes president.

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    Being an informed voter is crucial to the citizens of America. Being an informed voter means one researches on an unbiased source what each party stan…

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  • Makenzie from Oklahoma

    To be an informed voter in the 21st century means more than understanding the duties and responsibilities we have as citizens to vote. It means that we must look at both sides of the story. We must stop letting our emotions get in the way and look at who the candidates are as political leaders, not who they are as a person. Though, the candidates opinions can be based off who they are as people, we shouldn’t vote for someone because we hate the other candidate. We must educate ourselves on the opinions and hopes for our country each candidate has and make our decision based off those hopes. Being an informed voter in the 21st century also means having respect. If we want to make a point and get it across, we must be sensitive and respectful to everyone’s opinions.

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    To be an informed voter in the 21st century means more than understanding the duties and responsibilities we have as citizens to vote. It means that w…

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  • destini from Texas

    To become an informed voter , means to utilize the power and influence of the vote.

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  • Patrick from Illinois

    The topic for the week is what does it mean to be an informed voter? I think to be an informed voter means that you put all bias aside and look at the actual facts for example in this current election Trump vs biden you should put all knowledge about what that person has done outside of politics to the side and go and research both candidates what they’ve accomplished and what they say there going to do and see if that’s actually achievable. I think to be an informed voter you have to do your own research on each candidate because if you only get your information from what news outlets are telling you then I think you’re informed to an extent because of all the bias depending on which news outlet you get your information from the news outlet may have a bias to one side or the other wich only gives you half the story sometimes that’s why it’s important to do your own research to become informed. In order to be an informed voter I think you need to have done your own research on both sides and make sure you’re being aware of where you get your information from because some places will be biased to one side or another but there are some news outlets like the washington post and The NewYork times. The second thing to be an informed voter I think is to be able to have an unbiased opinion from the start and make sure you’re focusing on the candidates policies and not on the actual candidates whether you like their person or not. Another thing that makes you an informed voter is making sure you look at the policies that matter to you most and which candidate is doing the most/best thing for that cause.

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    The topic for the week is what does it mean to be an informed voter? I think to be an informed voter means that you put all bias aside and look at the…

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  • Alison from Oklahoma

    I think that it is very important to be an educated voter especially nowadays. It is important to keep updated on pressing issues and news stories concerning each candidate. If you are able to go vote for either candidate and not care for the outcome, you, in my eyes are ignorant and privileged. It irks me because I am not able to vote and I am especially scared for the outcome of this specific election. I just hope that people don’t turn a blind eye to the truth.

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    I think that it is very important to be an educated voter especially nowadays. It is important to keep updated on pressing issues and news stories con…

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  • Lily from Oklahoma

    I think that to be described as an informed voter, you must know what it is you are voting for. In things such as presidential elections, it is important to know what benefits you and your state. In states such as Oklahoma there is a strong tie to Oil and Gas industries, so in terms of that, it would be wise to vote for someone increases the economy for the industry that suits you. In most situations I have personally seen, people will root for someone because they just don’t like the other person, not because that person actually benefits the state. They will choose the person, not the platform and that bothers me.

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    I think that to be described as an informed voter, you must know what it is you are voting for. In things such as presidential elections, it is import…

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  • Cecilia from North Carolina

    In a time where so much information is available at the push of a button, it can seem very difficult to separate the truth from alternative facts and fake news. Our overwhelming advancements in technology have made us more connected, but also more lazy when it comes to searching for correct information. This laziness, coupled with how easy it has become to post information on social media and the internet, has resulted in polarization all across America. Being an informed voter in America means researching candidates’ platforms using objective sources, and learning how election systems work, including what powers offices hold.
    Researching candidates’ platforms using objective sources is one of the most important things to do before voting yourself. This can be difficult if news sources focus on the character of candidates over stances on policy. It is always good to find facts if they are there. The Missouri Secretary of State, Jay Ashcroft, recommended getting a sample ballot to be sure what issues and candidates will be on the ballot when you vote, telling USA Today “…[and] the best thing we want you to be, yes we want you to vote, but we want you to be an informed voter.” Voter guides can also be helpful. According to usa.gov, voter guides “…offer details on each one’s [candidate’s] experience and goals…” as well as “…explain any ballot measures…” Together, voter guides and sample ballots are two very good strategies to educate voters about candidates and ballot issues in an objective manner.
    Learning how election systems and elected offices work is also very important. You would not want someone with no experience in agriculture running the department of agriculture. However, if you do not know what the department of agriculture does, or how it benefits you, you are more likely to be apathetic about it, and potentially not research it yourself. The Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) conducted a survey on voters before the 2018 midterms. “According to the Voter Engagement Scale, roughly one-third (34%) of Americans are consistent voters, fewer than one quarter are presidential voters (23%), 27% are irregular voters, and 16% are non-voters.” (Jones, et al.). When asked what the most important reason to vote was, 46% of the participants said it was “supporting candidates who advocate for the issues that are most important to them…” However, supporting candidates does not always equal knowledge about election systems and offices. In a 2016 multiple-choice survey released by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA), “…about a third of Americans (31%) could not correctly define the Electoral College.” The survey also found that “more than one in four Americans (29%)…could not correctly identify who Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine is.” (ACTA). These numbers seem very disconcerting. If a significant portion of voters do not understand our election system or know who is running for different offices, it cannot be determined if their vote would be the same if they were more knowledgeable.
    In conclusion, being an informed voter is very important. Sometimes, that can be difficult and take more work than fixing your eyes on the most accessible news programs. However, this does not mean it is an impossible goal. If news networks and journalists will not become more transparent, then people will have to step up and become critical thinkers themselves. Reading and understanding sample ballots and voter guides are two good strategies to start with on a journey to becoming a more informed voter.

    Additional sources:
    “Decide Who to Vote For.” USAGov, http://www.usa.gov/voter-research.
    “Electorally Illiterate: Poll Finds Troubling Lack of Knowledge about Elections and the Economy.” American Council of Trustees and Alumni, 7 May 2020, http://www.goacta.org/2016/10/electorally_illiterate_poll_finds_troubling_lack_of_knowledge/.
    Jones, Robert P., et al. “American Democracy in Crisis: The Challenges of Voter Knowledge, Participation, and Polarization.” PRRI, 17 July 2018, http://www.prri.org/research/American-democracy-in-crisis-voters-midterms-trump-election-2018/.

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  • Travon from North Carolina

    With this being an election year, it is important now as ever to be an informed voter. Being an informed voter is a civic duty that us in the United States have. Some of things that can make you an informed voter is knowing your candidates, knowing your rights, and getting to your polling place.

    The first part of this battle is knowing you candidates. You can hear a lot of false information about candidates going around on social media. Something that you can do is read a parties platform. A platform is a list of their ideas and what they plan to do when they get into office. Also knowing their personality is something else you can do, along with their background and history on voting subjects(if was in a government position). These are just some key things that can help you get to know your candidate better.

    Another thing is knowing your voting rights as an US citizen. A law was passed back in 1965 which was called the Voting Rights Act of 1965. This act was passed to better enforce the fifthteenth amendment. Which was that there would be no discriminatory acts in the polling place, and during this time period segregation and racial tensions were very high and at its peak. This is just one of few voting rights that are placed, another thing that must be done is making sure that you are a registered voter.

    Finally, getting to your polling place is a big one. Polling places are where you go to cast your votes on election day. The polling place is based on where you live and your district. Some essentials that you need to bring to your polling place is an ID and some documentation showing that your residence. Voting is just as important as taking care of your car or something of that nature.

    To conclude voting is something this important being informed is something that can help you pick the candidate that is just right for you. Knowing about the candidates, knowing your voting rights, and knowing and getting to your polling place. All of these are things that will help you become an informed voter.

    ADP/TDC Electoral Engagement Resources, A. (n.d.). Guide to Informed Voting. Retrieved November 06, 2020, from https://www.aascu.org/programs/ADP/VotingResources/InformedVoting.pdf
    Home. (n.d.). Retrieved November 07, 2020, from https://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=false
    The League of Women Voters of the Cincinnati Area, T. (n.d.). How to Judge a Candidate. Retrieved November 06, 2020, from http://www.smartvoter.org/voter/judgecan.html
    Voting Rights. (n.d.). Retrieved November 07, 2020, from https://www.aclu.org/know-your-rights/voting-rights/

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  • Alexis from North Carolina

    The election happening currently is very stressful. Going out and voting is crucial for America but only if someone is informed about who will be in office. Being an informed voter in the 21st century means knowing what the candidates value and what they believe and also what your personal beliefs are.

    Being an informed voter in the 21st century requires an individual to know the candidate’s values and beliefs when choosing a candidate. Knowing the candidates values are important when someone is becoming president. For example, if a candidate were to take away all LGBTQ rights and you’re LGBTQ and vote for them just because your parents do then there is a huge risk of you losing your rights to marry your significant other. Knowing the candidates’ views are important because blindly voting for someone is very dangerous to America. In an article called The Ignorant Voter by Ilya Somin he describes voter ignorance as the “pollution of the political process.” He refers to it as pollution because when one individual is uninformed, false information can be spread about the candidates beliefs. Watching the news and understanding the candidate’s views from a reliable source aids in becoming an informed voter.

    An individual understanding what they personally believe constitutes an informed voter. It is said in the prompt that voting “isn’t just a quantitative aspect but also a qualitative one”, which means voting shouldn’t be about voting blindly but about how someone personally believes and not voting solely because they need to. In an article written by The Graduate School of Political Management they suggest that “When qualitative data is reliable and valid, it creates the opportunity to arrive at a determination”. This means that knowing what the candidate stands for and voting for what they believe is important because the fate of America is in the citizens hands. Having a personal opinion on topics that are controversial in America makes someone an informed voter because they know and understand what they want in government and don’t vote just to get their vote out.

    Knowing one’s own personal values and also those of the candidates being elected is crucial in being an informed voter. Voting should not be thought of as a chore. Voting on a presidential candidate is a huge decision whether you believe your vote will help or not. When voting an individual needs to know who is being elected into office.

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    The election happening currently is very stressful. Going out and voting is crucial for America but only if someone is informed about who will be in o…

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  • Grace from North Carolina

    Voting in America is one of the key aspects that make our country a democracy. Voting exercises each citizen’s power to exemplify what they believe in. However, it is an impending issue in our country that people feel that it is not important to educate themselves on what they are voting for. This causes them to stay out of touch with politics and become uneducated voters. It is important that people are educated voters so their electorate matches their beliefs and people who are educated are more likely to vote.
    It is essential that voters are informed about what their candidates stand for so they can vote for someone that best matches their ideologies. This way, the voter gets the most out of their ballot and makes a positive decision, not only for themselves, but for the whole country. If someone votes for an electorate while being uneducated, they could be blind to potential issues they may be against. “About six in ten Americans say too many uninformed people voting (60%)…are major problems,” (Vandermaas-Peeler). Uneducated voters cause elected officials to not truly represent American people.
    People that are educated on politics are more likely to vote in elections. They are in touch with what each candidate has to offer. Informed voters have drive and ambition to support what they believe in. An article by Roger Brooks about educating voters says that, “educating the electorate is the surest way to increase motivation to turnout so that election results might better match the will of the people.” If more people vote, then the results of each election will more so match the interests of the general public. In todays day in age, most young people have social media which helps them get informed on candidate stances on certain issues. In an article by Evie Fordham about young voters increased turnout rates for this presidential election, it says that, “we could feel in the air that young people were fired up going to go to the polls in huge numbers.” When people get informed about elections, it makes them excited about voting and further makes our country’s elected officials represent the majority’s beliefs.
    In conclusion, voting is a right that should be exercised by every citizen and they should take advantage of it by educating themselves properly. When voters get educated on their candidates’ standpoints, it allows them to learn which electorate is most similar to themselves and educated citizens are more likely to vote.

    Brooks, Roger. “The Importance of the Educated Voter.” Facing Today – A Facing History Blog, facingtoday.facinghistory.org/the-importance-of-the-educated-voter.
    Fordham, Evie. “Millions of Young Voters Driving Huge Turnout in Battleground States like NC, Florida.” Fox News, FOX News Network, 29 Oct. 2020, http://www.foxnews.com/politics/young-voters-2020-trump-north-carolina-florida.
    Vandermaas-Peeler, Alex. “American Democracy in Crisis: The Challenges of Voter Knowledge, Participation, and Polarization.” PRRI, http://www.prri.org/research/American-democracy-in-crisis-voters-midterms-trump-election-2018/.

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  • Nikita from North Carolina

    As the presidential election has come and gone, millions of Americans have voted for their candidates, who they believe are going to fix the issues that they care about. In America, voting is considered a civic duty, something that a good citizen does. But just blindly voting does not make someone a good citizen, a voter must be informed. To be an informed voter in 21st century America, an individual should know each of the candidates platforms and issues, know how their vote works in the electoral college system, and know how to properly submit their ballots to be counted.
    Every candidate has their own agenda and issues that they believe are the most important to America and many people identify with these candidates and their issues. People vote for the person that believes in the same thing that they do. It might be that “abortion is evil” or “marijuana should be legalized”. But, just knowing one candidate’s issues is not enough. A person should know all the candidates issues to fully understand who is the best for America. If you just know one candidate, then you might miss one that also believes in your issues and has a better track record of fixing problems. Even if all the candidates don’t believe in what you believe, you have to research them to see who truly is the best, not just pick one blindly.
    In America, for the presidential election, we use the electoral college system. With this system, the president is not elected by the popular vote, but by electoral votes that are set in each state based on the state’s population (Waller, 2020). It is important for voters to know how the electoral college works because they then can understand how their vote counts in it. When watching the votes coming in on T.V., they can understand that their vote helps decide how their state’s electoral votes will go.
    With the coronavirus pandemic, many people this year voted by mail and absentee voting. But with this, voters need to know how to properly submit their ballots to be counted in the election. Many states have different rules for how ballots must be submitted. In North Carolina, mail in ballots could have been received until Thursday, November 5, but must have been postmarked with the date, November 3 (How to Vote). In Pennsylvania, mail in ballots could be received until Friday, November 6. Properly submitting a ballot is important because if improperly submitted, the vote doesn’t count. This means that you don’t have a say in who runs your country and how it works.
    While voting is a duty, it is a duty that should be performed by someone informed, meaning that they know all the candidates platforms and issues, know how their vote works in the electoral college system, and how to properly submit their ballot.

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  • Anisha from North Carolina

    In an age of politics where it can be hard to know where certain candidates and parties stand on their beliefs, it is a voter’s duty to learn all they can about the names on their ballots. While it is important to encourage the largest population possible to cast their vote, it is even more important that the people who do cast their vote do it knowing exactly who they are voting for and why. It is also important for voters to know the rules, deadlines, and tips for voting in their state as many election laws change from state to state. To be an informed voter in 21st century America, a voter must know the platforms and issues of all candidates on their ballot and be aware of how to properly submit their ballot to be counted.
    In every election cycle, there are hundreds of offices and positions that need filling, meaning that there are a lot of different candidates for voters to choose from. While presidential elections are usually more popular, it is often that the local offices filled in a voter’s district or state affect them more. While it can be overwhelming to see so many different candidates on a ballot, it is important to know about each candidate’s platforms and beliefs so a voter can vote for the change that will affect them. Many times, people vote for candidates they have never even heard of simply because they are from the same party or they do not like the other candidate, and those are not always the best ways to vote. While parties offer general guidelines on a candidate’s beliefs, candidates can differ on platforms and planks, so doing research ahead of time is extremely important. Many states offer a voter guidebook to voters that tells people about all the candidates that they will see on their ballots. This guidebook offers information on what office the candidate is voting for, any experience or education, changes they plan to make, and what party they represent. GenerationNation, an organization dedicated to teaching students about how their government and communities work, propose that when “there is too much information, or too many candidates, one way to start [researching] is with an issue you care about (education, environment, jobs, healthcare, etc.). Then find information about the candidates and their views on that one issue”. Being an informed voter means knowing what is going in with politics in your country, district, state, and country, and knowing what the candidates on your ballot stand for is an important step to your vote meaning something in our democracy.
    One of the worst things that can happen to a voter’s ballot is it being rejected. Ballots are rejected all the time for reasons as simple as too many creases to incorrect signatures. According to Derek Thompson, from The Atlantic, “more than 23,000 mailed ballots were rejected in the presidential primaries in Wisconsin” and “New York City alone threw out more than 84,000 ballots this primary season”. While voters are usually alerted when their ballot is rejected, a ballot rejected is a vote for a candidate not counted. The most efficient and convenient process for a voter to cast their ballot properly is to do their research about voting in their state. Many State Board of Elections offer sample ballots for voters to view a ballot for what may be their first time and practice properly filling it out. Reading the State Board of Elections’ websites and FAQs can often help a voter figure out everything they need to know to make sure their vote is counted. Some states, like North Carolina, require that a witness be present to sign a voter’s ballot when voting, even on mail-in ballots. With the presence of a pandemic, mail-in voting has quickly become a popular method of ballot-casting, and there are many rules that surround mail-in ballots, one of the most important being the data in which it is sent in. To be an informed voter, voters must not only know about their candidates but how elections in their state really work if they want to make sure their voice is heard in this democratic process.

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  • Sydney from North Carolina

    Voting is an important duty that each and every one of us has. Regardless of what you believe in and what you have been told, it is our right and privilege to vote. While anyone, that is eligible, can vote, there are certain things that separate those who are informed when it comes to voting and those that just check off random boxes because they are not educated on either how they should vote or who to vote for. Being an informed voter means that an individual understands what each of the candidates on the ballot support and the “outside factors intended to persuade” (The Democracy Commitment) their opinions do not affect them.
    In today’s day and age many people vote just for the sake of voting. This should not be the case. Since it is our right and privilege we should be doing it to the best of our abilities. This could mean researching a specific candidate and what they believe in. There should be policies and different views on subjects that that particular voter agrees with that allows them to make the judgement on who to vote for. The 2016 election is a great example of this. Pew Research Center states, “Two months after the party conventions, only about half of voters (48%) say they know “a lot” about where Clinton stands on important issues, while even fewer (41%) say this about Trump.” This proves the fact that many individuals are not informed on important issues regarding different candidates when it comes to voting.
    Nowadays, many people base their beliefs and principles on what society tells them to. They either conform to what society wants them to believe, or they conform to voting with the majority. They are afraid of getting judged by their peers because they feel differently about a specific policy or belief. Others may adopt their parents’ political beliefs because it is what they grew up knowing and believing. As News Gallup puts it, “given that 7 in 10 currently say they’re sticking close to their parents’ positions on the ideological spectrum, many will possibly continue the voting tradition of at least one older family member.” While this may not be true for all individuals, this social norm is very present in today’s society.
    In conclusion, an informed voter is someone who is not just educated on who the candidates on the ballot are but also what they believe in and support. While others might argue that “a vote is a vote”, there is more to voting than a simple check on a ballot. Voting is something that shows what you believe is best for your county, state, country etc. It is showing that you believe in what someone stands for. Lastly, it is showing that you are using your duty as an American citizen to vote for what you believe in.

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  • Safiyyah from North Carolina

    The twenty-first century has brought a plethora of new ways to spread information. The internet has given us social media, where news spreads like wildfire. While this has it’s benefits, there is a negative effect in the world of politics: the rapid spread of false information. Being able to tell who and what to support in an age with so much unchecked information can be daunting, but there are ways to do it. In this century, being an informed United States voter means avoiding unreliable sources, researching topics on your own, and being aware of the rules and laws of voting.
    Unreliable sources are everywhere on the internet. Twitter and Facebook posts can spread like wildfire, even if they are completely inaccurate. If someone with a large online presence posts false information, they can easily sway people to believe it. This has happened a few times on Donald Trump’s Twitter page. Recently he said that “any vote that came in after election day will not be counted”, in reference to mail in ballots (Robertson). This is completely untrue, and could cause panic for the many people who mailed in their votes. As long as a ballot is postmarked for November 3rd and it arrives by 5 pm on November 12th, the vote will be counted in North Carolina (howto.vote). Many other states have deadlines similar to that. To be an informed voter, avoid unreliable sources and be critical of what is spread, especially on the internet.
    Researching, googling, and anything else it can be called, is critical to being a knowledgeable voter. Once false information is weeded out, the next step is to learn about new things. Learning about both the voting process and what issues will be voted on are two sides of this critical coin. Rules for voting change from state to state and are not determined by the federal government (Hoffman). It’s important to be aware of each state’s specific rules so that each vote is counted. For example, 6 of the 50 states do not offer voting in-person before election day (NCSL). If someone had planned on voting early in-person in one of those 6 states because they believed that was an option, their vote would not make it through.
    Once you are aware of when and how to vote, you must know what you are voting on. Many issues are relevant to the ongoing 2020 election. Management of COVID-19, the economy, and racial inequality are huge topics. Using reliable sources like the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and other scientific based groups can help you find the information you need to make decisions on topics like what ways are best to deal with the pandemic. Once you decide how you would like to see an issue handled, the backgrounds of government official candidates can be investigated. Then decide who would execute what’s best for their position, and get ready to vote for them. If you’re not sure who’s running, you can usually request a sample ballot, depending on your state. They have a list of the official candidates for each position, and this can help you prepare for filling out your real ballot at the polls (Hoffman).
    It can be a bit of a process, but learning to weed out false information, researching important issues, and understanding the voting rules in your area can make voting in 21st century America a better informed process. Now go vote!

    “Bibliography”
    https://www.factcheck.org/2020/11/trump-tweets-flagged-by-twitter-for-misinformation/
    https://howto.vote/vote/en/nc.html
    https://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/early-voting-in-state-elections.aspx

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  • mackenzie from North Carolina

    Voting is one of the most crucial ways to ensure that the people’s voice is heard. Throughout history, many fought for their right to vote, including women, and minorities. By voting it allows for citizens to be a part of the democratic process. Being an informed voter means that citizens are educated about the candidates and know the impact of their ticket.

    Each candid on the ballot stands for different issues, perspectives, and beliefs. Voters need to be informed about the values of each candidate so they know who they elected. The most important issues are primarily healthcare, economy, and immigration (Gallup). The representatives that are elected go into power with a mission to set policies, whether that be for healthcare or the economy. Depending on your views, it can impact how you feel about those decisions. By looking into those specific issues, it can tell the voter who they would prefer in office. USA Today gives several topics about specific election day information. This can range from poll workers, mail-in ballots, and election fraud. USA Today is not only a reliable source, but it can be easily accessed. This just shows how simple it can be to become educated on this subject. BY learning about who the candidates are and what issues they stand for, voters can become more informed in upcoming elections.

    The effects of just a single vote could mean to difference between the wrong and the right choice. According to Fox News, “record youth turnout could be diluted by higher turnout among all age groups”. Younger voters have been present in the poles during the recent elections. This acts like a snowball effect, advocating for the older generations to get out and vote too. If the general public was aware of these positive effects that voting could bring, there would be an even higher turnout. The source Grotto explains the worth of an informed vote. They explain how communicating your right to exercise your vote can influence a new policy. Local government elections have a greater impact on your daily life than the presidential one. By being informed about what’s going on in citizens regional or even state demographics, it can allow you to make decisions on how you want to live. Being informed can be difficult but it allows for a greater understating of politics and allows you to have a voice.

    If anything being an informed voter should pertain to the local polling booths. CBS news expresses how it’s important to know what to do to be prepared when arriving at the booths. By doing a little preparation, voters could learn how to protect against potential threats. An example being, not taking a photo at the polls, or of your ballot to ensure that no consequences will come from your decision. Being an informed voter means that citizens are educated about the candidates and know the impact of their ticket.

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    Voting is one of the most crucial ways to ensure that the people’s voice is heard. Throughout history, many fought for their right to vote, including …

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  • Samantha from North Carolina

    Being an informed voter is the most important concept of voting and choosing representatives to run the country effectively. To be an informed voter there are many variables you must consider. To be informed you need to be knowledgeable about all parties involved in the election and also know when you are hearing or reading the truth about candidates.

    Being an informed voter means being knowledgeable about all parties involved. This means researching the policies and platforms of the candidates and making an informed decision based on the candidate you most agree with and think will be most successful in office. The American Democracy Project stated that “One of our most influential powers as citizens is exercising our right to vote” (ADP). Being informed comes with exercising your right to vote. For example, believing your associates and what they say about the candidates affecting your decision leads to uninformed voting. You must do the research yourself and not rely on someone else to give you the information. That person you may have voted for could have such different values than what you are told and you will regret it later. Every vote counts so making an informed decision benefits the overall impact of who is elected.

    Another aspect of cindering yourself an informed voter means looking past all of the untrue statements made about candidates and knowing where the true information comes from. Mitchell Langberg and Matthew MsKissick wrote an article for The Daily Times pertaining to defamation during elections. One of their main points was that “In the context of campaigns, the public is the true victim of the false speech that sways the outcome of an election” (Langberg et McKissick). This is true because the public will believe anything and if there are false accusations filtering through the public, then the votes will be biased based on slander. This represents the importance in knowing where to get your information from and to research these topics to find the truth in the slander and them as candidates.

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    Being an informed voter is the most important concept of voting and choosing representatives to run the country effectively. To be an informed voter t…

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  • Emily from North Carolina

    As we are currently experiencing the election process to determine who is the next president of the United States, voter knowledge and encouragement has been one of the most talked about issues. Voting in this country is important because even though it may not directly elect the president, it joins with other votes in your area, ultimately making a difference. People generally cast their ballots for the candidates they choose based on what they know. Being an informed voter in the 21st century is crucial because it allows you to vote for the candidate who best represents your beliefs and political views.
    When you are an informed voter, you are able to make decisions without outside influences that are usually made to persuade those who don’t understand a candidate’s platform. Government officials have the duty of serving their citizens, usually in different ways because of political party affiliations and personal beliefs. Being an informed voter lets you decide which candidate is best for you, your beliefs, and those around you. The debates over abortion, immigration, and other civil issues are key in deciding peoples votes as they are important to many. Being informed on how candidates stand on these issues is beneficial to you and your community because you are more likely to know their response to those issues, and you will be more likely to agree/disagree with their course of action.
    Politicians use political rhetorics, symbolism, and ad strategies to create persuasive arguments and attract voters. These strategies are usually effective as they paint the candidate in a positive light or create a connection between the two. Politicians like Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush have attended public events in efforts to engage with people, and gain more votes in their favor. Representatives Steve King and Nancy Pelosi also use political symbolism to attract voters by using buzzwords to evoke emotion from their statements in a positive way. These are examples of how outside influences affect the population of uninformed voters, causing them to vote in their favor. On the other hand, being an informed voter can ensure that you agree with your chosen candidate and know what is expected in your community in the future. This is one of the most important jobs as a citizen because they help in deciding their future and the country’s.
    Voting is one of the most important freedoms in America. Because not many people in other countries have the opportunity to vote, it is crucial for citizens to exercise their right to vote, but most importantly in a informed manner. Your vote, along with many others decides what’s to come for millions of people across the nation. Ensuring that you are an informed voter can lead to a better country and a better life for many people across the nation.

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    As we are currently experiencing the election process to determine who is the next president of the United States, voter knowledge and encouragement h…

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  • Harry from North Carolina

    Voting in America is one of citizens’ civil duties. To perform this duty to the best of our abilities we are under the obligation to be informed voters. An informed voter is someone who knows how our election process works and who and what they are voting for. To achieve this citizens can learn the election laws in their state, and find information on candidates or parties policies.
    Knowing how to vote is a big part of being an informed voter. This year, because of COVID-19, mail-in ballots have become a much larger part of the voting process. However these ballots can be somewhat confusing. An article from USA Today titled, “Voting is a patriotic duty. If you don’t know these terms, it can be a confusing one” by Joel Shannon says, “All states allow voting by mail, but the rules in each state may vary.” It is important to know how your state’s mail-in voting process works. According to the New York Times there are many ways for your ballot to be rejected. They say that if you leave out information, sign your name wrong, or fill in your bubble wrong your ballot will be rejected. Depending on your state that might mean your vote won’t be counted. For example, The North Carolina Board of Elections says that if an issue arises with your mail-in ballot then you will be notified it was rejected, but will not be allowed to fix it. It is important to know your state’s laws on voting to make sure your vote gets counted.
    Another large part of being an informed voter is knowing what you are voting for. All candidates stand for different things and have different policies. According to an article from Forbes called, “The Ignorant Voter” “one third of Americans think that foreign aid is the government’s largest expense, and nearly half of Americans think cap and trade has to do with healthcare or financial regulation instead of the environment.” If that many Americans do not know what certain things mean, then how do they know what candidates believe on those topics? An article from The Washington Examiner titled “Do voters vote on policy (Elizabeth Warren) or personality (Joe Biden)?” they examine how voters choose their candidate. They explain that when the election for the Democratic candidate for president was going on Elizabeth Warren had focused very heavily on her policies while Joe Biden had a more relatable personality. They quote a June Vox piece saying “‘Biden has released only two notable proposals of his own.’” As we can see now from which candidate won, voters are more focused on who is more relatable. It is important as voters to know not just who we are voting for, but what we are voting for as well.
    In conclusion, to be an informed voter means to know your state voting laws, and your candidates policy. This will ensure that your vote best supports you as a citizen.

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    Voting in America is one of citizens’ civil duties. To perform this duty to the best of our abilities we are under the obligation to be informed vot…

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  • James from North Carolina

    Today there is much debate about politics and presidential candidates, with all the debate it’s imperative that citizens get their vote in. Not only is voting important, but staying informed about who and what you are voting for also essential. To be an informed voter, citizens should know the positions that candidates have on the issues they care about and they should gather as much information as they can about the candidates.
    To be an informed voter, citizens must know the policies they are voting for when they choose a candidate. Gabby Shacknai, in a Forbes article, writes about Selena Strandberg, the founder of the KnowYourVote website. In the article, it says “The site believes strongly in the power of transparency, so each and every source utilized is listed, and there’s a button over every piece of information that lets users see the source” It is important to know about each candidates position on an issue and all the facts about them so you as a voter can make an informed decision on which candidate would be the best. This website emphasizes the importance of knowing all facts and they provide an easy way to get the information with full clarity. Voters should look at all of the policies that the candidates support so that they can compare the benefits and downsides of each candidate and make an educated choice.
    Another way to be informed as a voter is to get as much information on the candidates as possible. David Trinko writes for The Lima News “It’s more important today to know where you’re getting your information today than it ever has been before. You should challenge yourself to look at some mediums you don’t usually read or might not even like to try to round out your opinions”. As a voter, it’s important to view all the facts of the candidates. By researching a candidate a voter can find a lot of information with different opinions and they can broaden their view on the candidates. Voters should find out as much as they can so they are certain of their stances on specific issues and candidates.
    Today, more than ever it’s important to stay informed as a voter, people can do this by researching the policies and facts about each candidate and by reviewing multiple sources with different outlooks on the topics. To make an informed decision, voters need to know all the information about each candidate, so they can understand the costs and benefits of each choice. In this era of misinformation and bias, it’s also important to review multiple sources on a particular topic so that a voter can see the whole truth and understand their own stance on the issue.

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    Today there is much debate about politics and presidential candidates, with all the debate it’s imperative that citizens get their vote in. Not only…

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  • Taylor from North Carolina

    In today’s world, many people vote based on what their parents tell them or what they hear on the news. It is very important that all voters are able to understand who, and what, they are voting for. Being an informed voter means knowing your beliefs, and knowing it’s not just your right, but also your responsibility, to vote.

    Americans need to know their beliefs before voting. Missouri’s Secretary of State is “urging voters to be informed and to follow the laws” (Elizabeth Hoffman, CBS News). Before voting, everyone should know what they are voting for, what they believe in, and what they don’t. We don’t have to follow in their parent’s footsteps and believe in the political views they do. Not only does everyone need to be informed, but particularly the younger generations. “Gen Z and millennial voters account for roughly 26% of votes cast so far in North Carolina and make up more than a third of its registered voters” (Evie Fordham, Fox News). A third of voters in NC haven’t even lived half their life yet, especially Gen Z. The age range of 18-23 year olds get to vote for President for the first time. It is very important they have done their homework, and understand what they are voting for.

    Not only do we need to know our beliefs, but also our rights as US citizens. We have rights that were given to us years or even centuries ago. “The women’s suffrage movement, and the Constitutional amendments that have gotten us to where we are today.” (Brianna Houchens, Chatfield College). Before us, the people fought hard to get everyone the right to vote. Women and African Americans were not able to vote until these movements came along, which means it is important for us to do so. “Voting in the United States is widely billed as a patriotic duty, but it can be a confusing one, filled with unfamiliar rules and terms.”(Joel Shannon, USA Today). As provided in the Constitution, voting is a right that everyone has. It can be a complicated process, but it doesn’t have to be if everyone is informed.

    Too often we take the right to vote for granted, but it’s not just a right it’s a responsibility. It’s our responsibility to understand the issues, and where the candidates stand on those issues so that we can all be informed voters.

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    In today’s world, many people vote based on what their parents tell them or what they hear on the news. It is very important that all voters are abl…

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  • Will from North Carolina

    As the third of November was election day, there are important aspects of voting to think about, one of which is the ideology of quality over quantity when it comes to voting. Although the idea that every vote counts is a very great thing, the idea that some votes are not educated is not a positive thing. An opinion on something without factual guidance is a very bad thing for a movement that is blindly heading towards a certain outcome that is unknown, that is why being an “informed voter” is such an important thing. An informed voter is someone that has researched their opinions and can validate their beliefs.
    To be an Informed voter in the 21st century means a lot of things. Some of these things may include the idea that you had researched or required factual evidence to back up and validate your claims and beliefs. Another thing to consider someone as an informed voter is when an individual can back up their opinion and beliefs. An important aspect of research and factual evidence is having sources and reliable information when an individual is proposing their sides or something. Today’s age has a lot of misinterpreted and skewed information that oftentimes invalidates an individual’s right to claim themselves as an informed voter. This comes from politicians that are corrupt sometimes. Stated by Colin Horning from The Northern Iowan, he states that “Rather than looking at the “R” or “D” next to the candidate’s name on the ballot or just voting a straight ticket one way, take a small amount of time to research both candidates in an election you are thinking about voting in.”. This is an important aspect of voting as it takes some bias away from elections to focus on the policies of candidates, which qualifies an individual to be able to claim themselves as an informed voter.
    An informed voter knows about the differences in the sides in which they are voting against and for. they have to understand the differences in the candidates and policies that each side represents. Stated by Disability Rights of New York, an individual cannot be determined to be an informed voter if they do not know the necessary side to an election. If a voter is unaware or ignorant of the key differences of the candidates or policies that they are voting on they are not considered an informed voter. When an individual knows about the differences between candidates and the policies within the aspects of policies in the key differences between them they can be considered an informed voter.

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    As the third of November was election day, there are important aspects of voting to think about, one of which is the ideology of quality over quantity…

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  • Britton from North Carolina

    In today’s society, most younger voters’ political views come from the persuasion of social media and other people. This is a problem because people are not voting for what is best for them, they are just following the “crowd”. As Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft said, “…yes we want you to vote, but we want you to be an informed voter.” To be an informed voter in the 21st Century, means to know what each candidate’s views and your own beliefs are and to follow the rules and protocols of voting.

    When voting it is important to know all the views of the politics you are voting for and what positions they are running for. This is a major problem in the world today, voters go out not understanding what the candidates views and opinions are. As well as understanding who the candidates are, you should know what your beliefs are. Gen Z and millennial voters are a vital part of this election, therefore politicians and all types of political speakers are targeting them. As stated in Fox News, ”Democrats are hoping get-out-the-vote efforts among young people will result in a blue wave and a Biden presidency…”. This means that by targeting these younger voters they are hoping to persuade them to vote democratic. With this being said, it is important to have a strong belief and understanding so you can make decisions for yourself and not let others have an influence on your vote.

    Not only is it important to know why and who you are voting for, it is important to know all the laws and rules for when it is time for you to go vote. Especially with all the changes this year due to Covid-19, understanding what the protocol is is important. For example Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft said “Voters will need to leave political masks, shirts, hats, and buttons at home. Under Missouri law, campaigning of any kind is prohibited within 25 feet of a polling place.” It is vital that voters of all ages are informed so no conflicts occur. Without being informed on the protocol of voting can lead to issues. Therefore, being informed on all the rules will help everything run smoothly.

    To be an informed voter during elections is very important. Knowing who you are voting for and why you are voting for them is vital, as well as knowing all the laws and rules for when you go vote. If you vote without really understanding why you voted for someone, it takes away the point of voting.

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    In today’s society, most younger voters’ political views come from the persuasion of social media and other people. This is a problem because people a…

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  • Daniel from Oklahoma

    An informed voter is someone who does thoroughly researches both sides of a vote. An informed voter is someone who doesn’t take things at face value or blindly vote for the party they always vote for they normally vote for. They engage in civil discourse with people in both parties to be as well-informed as possible.

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    An informed voter is someone who does thoroughly researches both sides of a vote. An informed voter is someone who doesn’t take things at face value o…

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  • Lauren from North Carolina

    Think the Vote

    What does it mean to be an informed voter in 21st century America? It’s no question that the mindsets of some Americans have drastically changed over the years. There has also been a spike in protests and organizations bringing awareness to the major issues that people of color or people in poverty face and how elections determine whether or not something is done to change oppressive systems around them. Social media outlets and online news makes it easy for people to broadcast misinformation making it difficult to discern the truth and make informed voting decisions. To be an informed voter in the 21st century, you must carefully engage the internet to keep up with current events and form your own political decisions and positions.
    Recently, there has been an increase in attention to various internet platforms that challenge or support politicians and candidates for elected offices. As many know, the internet is a quick and cost effective way to disseminate information. As politicians have grown in their online presence, there has been a surge of information written by and geared toward youth and young adults. As a result, more young voters are exercising their right to vote when legally permitted. One online news source, Foxnews.com, reports that in the 2020 Presidential election,”Millions of young voters drove huge turnouts in battleground states such as Florida and North Carolina”. This is important to track as campaigns and legislation may start to reflect matters that are viewed as higher priority items for younger generations (e.g., environment, education, health care). Regardless, being informed is a responsibility that comes with the right to vote.
    I believe it is necessary to research the candidates and know what they stand for in order to make an informed voting decision. Without doing so, voters may accidentally elect people who do not represent the best interests of them or others in their community. In addition, knowing how to vote, where to register to vote, and who is permitted under the law to vote is also something that is not widely understood. The website, Usatoday.com, stresses the importance of informed voting and argues,“Voting in the United States is widely billed as a patriotic duty, but it can be a confusing one, filled with unfamiliar rules and terms”. We need to also keep in mind that issues and decisions that we may today impact generations to come. Our country needs leaders that recognize this and informed voters who think about the future of themselves and the next generations to come thereafter.

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    Think the Vote

    What does it mean to be an informed voter in 21st century America? It’s no question that the mindsets of some Americans have drastic…

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  • Maci from North Carolina

    Voting is something that is very important for our country as a whole but is also a right we have as citizens. An important part of being a voter is knowing what is going on around them and how their simple ballot could affect everyones daily life. To be an informed voter means that they know the laws that pertain to their state and to know the candidates and their platforms before they cast their ballot.

    Certain states have certain rules when it comes to how they vote and how their polling sites work. According to CBS Missouri has particular laws about what they’re allowed to wear and how they’re allowed to campaign. Voters are required to leave all political wear at home and cannont campaign within “25 feet of a polling place” (Hoffman). This is important because voters don’t want to be told they need to go change after waiting for their turn. With Covid on the rise during this election there are many new rules and regulations with how things are run that it’s important to make sure that voters are staying up to date with how their local polls are operating. Mail in ballots have also become a popular choice for voters, so if people choose that option they need to make sure they follow the correct protocols to make sure their vote gets counted. An informed voter would know all the rules to make sure they do everything just the way it needs to be done.

    When casting a vote the voter wants to make sure that they know what each candidate’s platform is and also, need to make sure that no outside factors are influencing their vote. According to Fox News more young people have been going to the polls and they have casted over 400,000 votes is Flordia and over 300,000 in North Carolina. These are both swing states and the outcome will be very important. As we know there are far more young people on social media than older people. Young people also want to go more with how everyone else goes because they don’t want to be seen as an outcast. Instead of going off of other people’s views they need to make sure they’re doing their own research to know exactly what each candidate stands for. This is a huge part of being an informed voter because in order to truly vote for what you believe in you need to do your research.

    It is important that people go out and vote but it’s even more important that as they do this they’re informed about how they’re voting. Many people will cast a straight ticket when voting and this is not being informed, the voter is just voting for the party of their choice. Being an informed voter in our country means that they know the politician as well as their views and voters also know the rules and regulations of their particular voting site.

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    Voting is something that is very important for our country as a whole but is also a right we have as citizens. An important part of being a voter is k…

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  • Emma from North Carolina

    With this week being the week of a presidential election, voting is a big topic on every American’s mind. Voting is a big part of what makes America, America. It proves a way for the citizens to voice their opinions on who they believe is best to run the country. Voting, though, is not something to take lightly, and requires serious consideration before casting a ballot. In order to be an informed voter in the 21st century, a citizen must know how to vote and how the system works and also know the candidates beyond what the media tells them.

    It is important that voters know how the voting system works and how they can vote. It is necessary that voters know terms like electoral college, mail in ballot, poll watcher, and many more. Knowing the result and impact of a person voting will help citizens better understand the importance of voting and using their voice. If people do not know how to vote, they could potentially commit voting fraud or break other voting laws. As Larry Bartels, a political scientist at Vanderbilt University said, “It is an archaic system that has created confusion and even crisis in the past and will, no doubt, continue to do so in the future”. If a person does not know the rules, for instance, they could vote using their ballot-by-mail and go to vote in person, thinking they are supposed to do both.

    Another important requirement to be an informed voter is knowing more about the candidates than the media tells them. Media gets to shape and bend statistics and facts to preserve things as they want them to be known. According to Andra Brichacek from the University of Oregon’s school of Journalism and Communication, the main way that the media shapes candidates “is by choosing which candidates to cover and how much”. The media takes information and shows what they want to and twists it to how they want it to be perceived. If a voter took the time to learn about platforms and all the beliefs behind a candidate or party, they could tell when the media is being biased and untruthful. “The voting behavior of people who are actively interested in politics is probably not changed by the media” (UShistory.org). When a person is constantly knowing what is actually going on and not what is perceived to be going on, they are an informed voter because they know the whole truth and not just what people want them to know.

    Being a voter is a big responsibility and a great way to exercise democracy in America. It is important that people are informed or people will get into office and do terrible things that no one knew they would do because it was hidden behind the media. Also, in order for a persons’ vote to count, they need to vote correctly and follow the laws and guidelines put out for their specific state. So, in order to be an informed voter a person must know how voting works and to know more about the candidates then what the media says.

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    With this week being the week of a presidential election, voting is a big topic on every American’s mind. Voting is a big part of what makes America…

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  • Cate from North Carolina

    What does it mean to be an informed voter? In a time where politics are as controversial as ever, but seem to just keep getting more heated as time passes, being a citizen, staying informed can be a difficult task. You would think that being informed of what’s going on wouldn’t be much of a challenge – you just listen to the news. But in this age, the information that you see on the news may not be accurate – there is a storm sweeping our nation that is misinformation, “fake news,” and news bias. For most people, they find themselves not truly being informed – whether that is because they have the privilege of “not really being into politics” or simply because they hear so many different stories and opinions, all wavering from the truth. Being an informed voter in our society means that you have to put in the effort to pay attention where you are getting your information and news from, knowing where you may come across some bias and try to make sure you’re getting the whole story, and also being aware of voting regulations. Listening to their candidates, yes, but also going back and double checking to see if what these candidates are saying is actually true, and fact checking their claims and credibility, and making sure that they are making the right decisions that will allow them to vote however they please.

    An essential part of being an informed voter, and staying informed, is paying attention to where you are getting your information and news from. Right now, a popular social media app called TikTok is receiving a lot of attention for the political posts that people are making on the app. There are numerous amounts of “creators” who are posting videos about important topics related to voting and the election, in hopes of bringing awareness to their viewers, and to help bring light to important topics. Now, while these may be in the best interest of the population, there has been a lot of backlash at some who would choose their news source as TikTok. Since it’s just an app where creators can post whatever they would like, there can be a lot of misinformation spread. But, some of these creators are trying to advocate for the important things, and for those who can’t advocate for themselves. For those who are getting information from an app like TikTok- to stay informed you need to make sure that what these people are saying are facts. There is no “fact check” for social media apps. People have free reign to post whatever they may like. So, before you go and reference “that one TikTok” for where you got your information – fact check it. In order to stay truly informed with the facts, if you see something on a social media platform such as TikTok or Instagram, as a voter you first need to look – are they quoting sources? Are their sources legitimate? Or is this just information that is claiming – not backing themselves up with facts or actual evidence? This is just one thing to keep in mind about where you are getting your information. If you see a social media post making a claim, and they have used quotes, or cited specific websites or news outlets, go look for yourself. To stay informed, you need to double-check everything that you hear because in this age of misinformation and social media, what you’re seeing or hearing might not always be one hundred percent accurate. And if the information that you’re receiving and going on to spread isn’t truly correct, it reflects poorly on you, and it may also influence your voting decisions based on false information, which could end up with bad consequences.

    Staying informed is such an essential part of being a citizen because you need to know who you’re voting for because it does have an impact. There is a population of people in the United States who believe that voting doesn’t matter- or that their vote in particular won’t make a difference. But every voice needs to be heard, and every voice is one step to greater change. In this current election year especially, the competition between the two presidential candidates is crucial to our country’s democracy and crucial to the future of our country as a whole. That is just the more reason that every person who is eligible to should go out and vote, make a change, and use their voice. The projected polls for this year’s election have been very close throughout different states – with talk of some key states becoming swing states, or leaning to the other party side than it usually would. One example is North Carolina. In an article for Fox News, author Evie Fordham writes about how the younger generations are having a larger turnout than previous election years, and then goes on to say “Texas, Florida and North Carolina are leading with most youth votes cast as of Oct. 23, according to the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE).” She mentions this in order to preface her next claim – which is that the younger population of voters are generally endorsing Biden versus Trump. Fordham supports this, saying “Democrats are hoping get-out-the-vote efforts among young people will result in a blue wave and a Biden presidency, which could hinge on North Carolina.” This is just one example of the states that could be swung either way this year – it all just depends on the voters, and who ends up voting. In states like these, you can see how getting out and voting matters, and how each vote will make a difference and could be the deciding factor between the states swinging republican versus democratic. It’s especially important for the voters in those swing states to stay informed on how to make sure that their votes are going to be counted and that they will be informed when they go in to vote.

    Not only is staying informed about general politics one of the key parts to being an informed voter, it is also very important to just know the basics about voting. For different states and different areas of the United States, the voting process is very different. And especially this year with COVID, more people are opting for mail-in voting, and there are some very important things that are necessary for those who do choose mail-ins to know. Again, this can vary based on the state that you live in. Each state has different regulations and restrictions for voting day, or voting ahead of time. For example, in some states you are not allowed to take a picture of your ballot, or even bring your phone into the voting station. In states where this is against the voting regulation, your ballot will be thrown out if you break that rule. In some places, wearing political attire is banned by the polling area. For example, in her article about being prepared in Missouri, Elizabeth Hoffman mentions that “under Missouri law, campaigning of any kind is prohibited within 25 feet of a polling place.” Some states have a variation of this kind of requirement because they want to create a safe polling space for the day of. It is so essential that if you are planning on voting day-of, you pay attention to your local laws and regulations while voting to make sure that your vote is counted and not thrown out because of a simple mistake. Another very, very essential thing is being registered to vote. Some polling places do day-of voter registration, while not all of them do. If you’re not registered, it would be better to be registered before going in to vote in case your local polling area does not do same day registration, or if there’s a chance that if you do register day of that your vote won’t be counted.

    Voting is such an important part of being an American citizen, and is a way for every American to get their voice heard, and to choose what they want their country to be. In order to be an informed voter, you need to make sure that you know what you feel that you want or need to know about your candidates, make sure that you’re getting factual information, while also just making sure that you meet all of the requirements to vote and know your local voting rules.

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  • Eleanor from North Carolina

    A democratic country is a place where citizens have the power to voice their opinions, elect representatives, and practice basic civil liberties. The right to vote is a right of great importance in a democratic country, but one that has not always been obtainable for all citizens. Throughout the past 200 years, women and African Americans have gained their right to vote with the passing of the 15th and 19th Amendments, after long fought fights against voter suppression. Although the passing of these Amendments granted these groups of people the right to vote, discrimination and voter supression on the basis of race and gender continued to discourage many from showing up to the polls. By overcoming major obstacles over the past 60+ years in order to practice the basic democratic right of voting, many citizens have seen an even greater importance in fulfilling their civic duty for those who dedicated their lives for us to have the voting rights we have today. Although it is extremely important that US citizens show up and use their voice by voting in local, state and federal elections, it is even more important that voters are educated on candidates and major issues on the ballot in order to ensure that they are making their most informed vote.

    In today’s elections, it’s extremely easy and common for voters to base their perception of a candidate off of what they see on social media or hear from biased news sources. Many citizens will tune into news channels or read small articles on candidates, but most voters don’t realize that the information they are receiving may not be accurate. In the media today, words are twisted and theories are described as facts, which can lead voters to create an image of a candidate in their mind that may not be accurate at all. An article from the League of Women Voters breaks down the process of judging a candidate into 7 steps, ranging from judging candidates on “the positions they take on issues and the leadership qualities and experience they would bring to office”, to how they sell themselves to voters. Examining candidates on behalf of experience and their stances on relevant issues beyond what is shown on social media will help to create a more educated population of voters, as well as voters who know they are truly voting for the values that they stand for.

    Being able to accurately judge a candidate is extremely important when it comes to filling out your ballot, but issue awareness is of equal or greater importance. In the United States today, topics such as abortion, healthcare and immigration are some of the dominating issues on the ballot, all of which can and will be taken in different directions depending on the candidates elected. With the current abundance of technology used in our country for news sources, it is very easy to quickly search and examine specific issues of debate in politics today. Many nonpartisan organizations such as CBS and the Washington Post have created charts comparing candidates’ views on certain issues, and some organizations have even created surveys to help an individual accurately identify themself with a political ideology or party. Late civic education can be seen through personal research, which greatly contributes to issue awareness. The Ace Project states that “education can protect democracy when citizens are supported in their activity by a responsive and democratic state.” which shows that when citizens educate themselves on current issues, they mark their ballot in a way that reflects their value and what they want to see happen in the government. Issue awareness is one of the most important factors in becoming both an informed voter and an effective citizen, and ensures that your true voice is being heard by the way you cast your ballot.

    To conclude, being an informed voter can mean many different things for citizens in the US. Some may argue that informed voters are those who watch the news every night or study politics and government, while others may argue that being an informed voter just means having general knowledge on Presidential candidates. Regardless of personal views on what an informed voter truly looks like, it is of the most importance that voters educate themselves on candidates in local, state and federal elections, as well as research and evaluate current partisan issues that could be changed or determined by an election. With these considerations taken, citizens in the US will cast their ballots as informed voters, even if they don’t know the ins and outs of American government and politics.

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  • Max from North Carolina

    Informed Voter
    By: Maximilian Jones

    The most important part about voting is the aspect of being an informed voter. This means several things in terms of voting in the United States. First, one must understand the importance of voting in general. We base our laws off of what the people want, and we decide that by voting. Not nearly enough people end up actually voting. Secondly, being an informed voter also means knowing the candidates involved and making a conscious decision based on your beliefs. These are two very important ideals when it comes to voting in the modern age.

    In the United States, we do not vote nearly enough for our leaders. This applies to our national election but also state and local elections. Senators and House of Representatives make important decisions in Congress about the future of our country. Regarding national elections, in our last presidential election only 58% of eligible voters actually voted (Penn State University Studies). This is harmful to our democracy because it means what the people actually want in office may not be happening.

    The second aspect of being an informed voter is being aware of the candidates and their platforms. Oftentimes, people voting do not actually pay attention to candidates but instead just vote for their party or just a random person. This is shown by the statistic that only 34% of Americans can name the 3 branches of government (The Ignorant Voter). This demonstrates how little many people know or care about politics in the US. In order for us to act like we care about election results, we have to put in the effort to know the candidates and what they believe in. Only then can we yell at the TV screen about the election.

    In conclusion, being an informed voter is an important part of our American democracy. We all have a responsibility to learn about our government officials and to make a decision based on what you believe in, not what you saw on Facebook. We are going through some rough times, and to make a change we have to elect people we feel will make a difference.

    Bibliography:
    Meyer, Jared. “The Ignorant Voter.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 28 June 2016, http://www.forbes.com/sites/jaredmeyer/2016/06/27/american-voters-are-ignorant-but-not-stupid/?sh=5c93a1057ff1.
    “Library Guides: Post-Election 2016 Recap & Resources: Voter Turnout.” Voter Turnout – Post-Election 2016 Recap & Resources – Library Guides at Penn State University, guides.libraries.psu.edu/post-election-2016/voter-turnout.

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    Informed Voter
    By: Maximilian Jones

    The most important part about voting is the aspect of being an informed voter. This means several things in te…

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  • Stephen from North Carolina

    In our modern day it’s very important to be politically engaged, or at least people make it seem that way. Either way, it’s important for people who are politically engaged to be informed about the issues. But what does it really mean to be informed about the issues? Being an informed voter means you have to understand both sides of an issue, be able to evaluate the costs and benefits of policies, acts, etc, and be able to vote with your conscience rather than out of fear or party loyalty.

    Most Americans don’t really fit my definition of an informed voter, they don’t really understand issues or their repercussions. In an article for Forbes, contributor Jared Meyer interviews law professor Ilya Somin from George Mason University about his book detailing voter ignorance. Somin gives as an example of how ignorant of politics the general populace is “that only about 34% of Americans can even name the three branches of the federal government.” Somin shows the even more shocking problem with uninformed voters, that voters will often vote for or against politicians based on events they didn’t cause, such as things as simple as short term economic trends or things as outrageous as droughts or sports victories. It really is shocking how uninformed most people are about issues that could potentially have a great impact on our everyday lives depending on the issue.

    George Carlin once said “Think of how stupid the average person is and then realize, half of them are stupider than that,” and I think that’s really appropriate for the issue of voter information. In order to truly be informed we have to do our own research on the issues so that we can understand not only what we’re voting for, but why we like or don’t like certain politicians. Thinking about Donald Trump, most of the people who I’ve asked why they dislike him most of them say it’s because he’s rude, not because of anything he’s done in office or his policies. The same thing goes for many of the people who dislike Obama, they dislike him for superficial reasons. This is not a defense of either of those politicians, I abhor both of them but it’s based on their policies, not on superficial reasons. It’s important for people to be able to articulate their beliefs on certain topics because otherwise it’s impossible to have any productive conversation about policy and the thinking is left to the fear-mongerers on the news.

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  • Connor from North Carolina

    Being an informed voter is more than just doing your civic duty of going to the polls and checking someone’s name off. Being an informed voter means you are aware of what each candidate stands for and you can make an informed and intelligent decision based on what information you find. To make an informed decision on who you want to be represented by, choose the right person that represents your beliefs most clearly. Make sure you are researching your information from credible sources, as many sources can be false or misleading.
    When choosing a presidential candidate or representative of any kind, make sure you know what the candidate stands for and accurately represents your beliefs. Make sure to always check the candidates’ websites to see what their plans are for their term. When viewing the candidates’ plans, make sure to consider how each plan will affect your life and everywhere around you if it does. Another great way to find information comparing candidates would be to find a candidate survey as the UMKC Libraries states “each person running for office answers the same set of questions [and] is a good way to compare candidates.” This way you can view each candidate’s plans for controversial topics and how they will evaluate, change, or fix them.
    When reviewing sources to make your informed decision, make sure you view both sides of the argument, as most news networks can be biased. Sources such as CNN or Fox News may report information with opposite biases which can be misleading to the audience. Regina Lawrence, director of Agora Journalism Center says that “We know there’s a relationship between selective exposure and the growing divide in political attitudes in this country. And that gap is clearly related to the rise of more partisan media sources.” Selective exposure targets their partisan audience and convinces them that they are the only right source and the other side/party is wrong. This divides the country. To be an informed voter you need to get information from direct, unbiased sources, that give information how it is and not how their side sees this, and make your decision for who to vote for from there.
    Being an informed voter means more than just checking your party’s candidate box at the polls. This means that you choose to vote for a person that accurately represents your views. Being an informed voter also means that you see out unbiased information from trusted sources to make an intelligent and informed decision on who you will vote for.

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  • Chase from North Carolina

    Voting is a very important right that United States citizens receive but voting can be very difficult if you aren’t knowledgeable of what’s going on. When you vote, your supposed to be an informed voter and you’re supposed to make your vote off of what you think and know but what does being an informed voter really mean? Being an informed voter said best by The democrat commitment ¨Being an informed voter means to be knowledgeable about the issues and positions of candidates when voting. It also means… make decisions without influence from outside factors¨. Being an informed voter means to be informed but also do not be persuaded by either side in their attempts to swing people.

    Being an informed voter, you must know who your voting for, and this means knowing the candidates and what they stand for. To do this obviously keeping up with the news is a great source but some stations show bias towards one side or the other so it is best to use several sources.Another way to be informed about certain candidates is and find your stance on them is ask your self questions about the candidates and what they stand for. An example from GenerationNation in an published PDF they used questions like¨Is this information helpful? Is it from a good, truthful source? Does it fit with other facts you know? How does it make you feel?¨.Using these questions and the knowledge you gain of each candidate this can make you a informed voter.

    Being an informed voter also means to know when candidates are making false statements or changing words around to make them appeal good or their opponent to look bad. This technique is a popular technique in politics where politicians uncover information and use it against their opponents. Knowing when the candidates do this and knowing what to believe makes you a more informed voter for the elections.

    Being an informed voter is a very important duty for the American voter to do because if they are not informed they may be wasting their time and their right to vote. When you vote to fully exercise your right to vote the voter needs to be informed so that they make the right decision.

    Graber, Doris A. The Democracy Commitment, AASCU, 2017, http://www.aascu.org/programs/ADP/VotingResources/InformedVoting.pdf.
    “5 Tips for Being an Active Informed Voter.” GenerationNation, 2016, http://www.generationnation.org/documents/5_tips_for_being_an_active,_informed_voter.pdf.

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  • Abigail from Connecticut

    “Indeed, the American system of self-governance relies on a citizenry that is aware of the day’s important issues. That’s why the constitutional framers created a free press system that would allow for the free flow of information,” says Jeffrey M. McCall, a professor of communication at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana (https://www.indystar.com/story/opinion/2013/11/08/generation-u-uninformed-threatens-nations-democratic-traditions-/3475849/).
    To clarify, the form of government in the United States of America is a Republic. A republic is “a government in which supreme power resides in a body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by elected officers and representatives responsible to them and governing according to law” (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/republic). The people have the power to vote into office someone that will hold the power of the nation (with checks and balances such as Congress). Unfortunately, according to Dr. Nancy Allen-Mastro, a woman serving 26 years as a school administrator in various roles, believes “civic knowledge is at an all-time low” (http://edvisions.org/an-educated-and-engaged-citizenry/). Actually, “in a 2015 survey published by The Annenberg Public Policy Center, only 31 percent of Americans could name the three branches of government.” (http://edvisions.org/an-educated-and-engaged-citizenry/). Currently, people are not informed about their government, their history, or their facts.
    The question yet remains: how does one become informed? The issue does not lie in a lack of information, the issue lies in a lack of filtration. “Young people now consume their news through mobile and social media, and schools are saddled with teaching kids about responsible consumption of the Facebook feed that is the ‘new’ network news. For every news item, students should ask: Is what I’m reading accurate, how can I tell? Is this a credible, fact-based news source? Am I acting upon this information responsibly?” (https://www.icivics.org/news/what-does-informed-citizen-mean-right-now). In other words, accepting the news sources’ information as absolute truth is no longer acceptable. “Fact” and “fiction” have become determined by what news sources people access. One news source says one statistic is fact while its neighbor states the opposing view as factual.
    Constantly “fact-checking” resources is a vital part of being an informed citizen. People must be “thoughtful consumers of political information through all media formats” (https://www.icivics.org/news/what-does-informed-citizen-mean-right-now). Being an informed citizen is not about choosing what platforms are used to become informed. Instead, it is about using multiple platforms, deciphering the information, and researching the statements as opposed to following what the news media say as facts.

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  • Reid from Oklahoma

    An informed voter in the 21st century is one that understand who they are voting for. A vote for a candidate from an uneducated voter is a wasted vote given to you by the sacrifices of many men and women. An educated voter watches debates, knows how each candidate stands on issues, decides who they best agree with, then exercise their right to vote in the correct manner. It is always important to not only vote, but to vote as an educated citizen.

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    An informed voter in the 21st century is one that understand who they are voting for. A vote for a candidate from an uneducated voter is a wasted vote…

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  • Carter from North Carolina

    With the upcoming election people are being urged now more than ever to go out and vote. However many people voting just focus on the party and not the ideals or who the candidates really are. In the 21st century being an informed voter means knowing about the candidates opinions, and fact checking the news.

    Understanding what the candidates views are on both foreign and domestic problems is one of the most influential aspects to picking a candidate. Many voters just vote for a certain party because they do not like the connotation associated with a certain party, or they are just voting for the same party that their parents vote for. However being able to venture out and research what both parties stand for allows for an understanding of the political beliefs. With these beliefs you also want to do research to make sure that you not only agree with the parties platform but also their planks. These planks, or components of a political platform, allow for you to see all of the small opinions and viewpoints of the party. One article by Forbes, recorded the conversation between an Author and a journalist when author Ilya Somin said “[Americans] often support counterproductive or contradictory policies.” By saying this Somin is showing the importance of staying informed and taking the time to fact check political policies.

    In politics there will always be lies and bias so make sure to always fact check what you hear. In the current state of the news, there is almost always bias, no matter where you go. News stations like Fox, MSNBC, and CNN almost always have a political bias towards one candidate or another which does not allow for americans to get all sides of the story and end up not being fully informed. This is such a large problem in America that there are websites such as factcheck.org and snopes.org that are in place to be able to fact check these large media corporations. Luckily this problem of fake news and biased information has been brought to light recently and 61% of Americans feel as though there is fake news in the media for most articles(Statisa).

    Through learning about candidates beliefs and fact checking the news anyone can become an informed voter in the 21st century. This would lead to a more informed society and a society that bases their choices on facts instead of bias and lies.

    “Amount of made up or fake news in reported news in the U.S. 2017 Published by Amy Watson, Dec 6, 2018 This statistic presents the amount of news that consumers believe to be made up or fake news?” Statista, https://www.statista.com/statistics/784051/made-up-or-fake-news-in-the-us/.
    Meyer, Jared. “The Ignorant Voter.” Forbes, https://www.forbes.com/sites/jaredmeyer/2016/06/27/american-voters-are-ignorant-buy-not-stupid/?sh=7ab3f3757ff1.

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  • Lilley from North Carolina

    Voting in the twenty-first century is no easy thing. With all the political riff-raff, you must know where you stand and not let people get to you. Many people receive backlash from their friends and family if they go a different way. This is not how people should treat people just because you have a different political view. It is an admirable trait to have an opinion and be able to defend it logically and respectfully. To be an informed voter in the twenty-first century, you have to have an unbiased view of both parties to know all the facts, and you need to make a sound decision based on your own morals and principles.
    To be a voter in the twenty-first century, you need to have an unbiased view on all the facts. This way, you can do your research before casting your vote. This is the best way to make a difference in your country. “Ashcroft encourages all voters to be informed, and that means preparation before election day.”(CBS news). This demonstrates how authorities urge voters to make informed decisions on their votes.
    To vote in the twenty-first century you must be able to make a sound decision based on your own thoughts and morals. “If you want, you can go ahead and mark that sample ballot how you want to vote, fold it up, put it in your pocket and it will make your time at the polls sometimes a lot quicker.” (CBS news) This demonstrates how you need to go to the polls prepared knowing who you are voting for because it is not a whim decision. To vote you must be prepared, informed, and ready to support whoever you are voting for.

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  • Hoyt from North Carolina

    Being an informed voter is being someone who is performing their civic duty with knowledge on the political candidates and their policies. Within being an informed voter, you must gain your political knowledge not from the media, but from unbiased and informative sources. What also goes along with being an informed voter is not only being knowledgeable of the candidate, but also the position they are running for.
    My first component of being an informed voter is being someone who gains their knowledge of candidates through more than one source of news, and being someone who is not close minded. For example, if you are attempting to gather information on the 2020 presidential candidates, watching and reading only CNN, or only FOX news would not be a good way to gain unbiased knowledge. Not only do you need to be able to vary in your way of gaining political information, you should be informed on candidates on both sides of the political spectrum. Being close minded and blocking yourself off from hearing political opinions of the other side is a way to keep elections redundant. What I mean by that is if everyone in America only voted for candidates from one same party, every election outcome would go to one political party.
    Not only must a voter know things about the candidate himself, the voter must also know about the position the candidate is running for. What I mean by that is if you are attempting to be an informed voter, you must know if in your own mind the candidate is qualified to successfully execute its duty in that position. For example, before becoming the 34th president, Dwight D. Eisenhower had never held a position in government. If you were to inform yourself on what a president’s responsibilities are and see that the president is in charge of things such as implementing laws, supervising the executive branch, preparing the executive budget etc. you may not vote for Eisenhower because you think he is not qualified to be president.
    In conclusion, being an informed voter is having an adequate amount of knowledge from multiple sources on not only the candidates, but the positions the candidates are running for.

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  • Savannah from North Carolina

    The President of the United States of America is required to fulfill the most crucial duties for our nation. The decision to cast a vote for either presidential candidate must be thought about and processed in a careful manner. Although every eligible citizen has the right to vote for their desired candidate, their decision should be based on factual information they have been informed about. In 21st Century America, informed voters are citizens of the country who are knowledgeable of the presidential candidates’ intentions and are strong in their decisions, without submitting to peer pressure.
    In order for American citizens to be informed voters in this time period, they must be knowledgeable of the presidential candidates’ intentions before casting their vote. Every presidential candidate that comes along has different ideas of how to transform America and those ideas should be displayed for voters to understand. According to Nicole Krasean from the MyWabashValley blog, “Voters can stay informed by doing research on different races, attending meetings in relation to local issues, and being involved in the local community.” Each American citizen that is voting should reach an understanding of which presidential candidate is the best option for themselves and the nation before casting their vote. Without having the appropriate knowledge of each candidate, the voters will not be adequately informed and could possibly regret their decision. According to Anthony Fowler and Michele Margolis from an article in ScienceDirect, “A lack of knowledge on the policy positions of the parties significantly hinders the ability of low-socioeconomic-status citizens to translate their preferences into partisan opinions and vote choices.” In other words, an informed voter will come to understand the intentions and policies of each candidate before declaring their decision.
    Every informed voter is required to be firm in their decisions and have the ability to disregard any form of persuasion. During elections, members of opposite parties will often attempt to persuade their opponents into voting for their preference through different types of temptations, including family and friends. According to Amy D’Amato from an article in the Odyssey, “Also, don’t be persuaded by the political opinion of your parents without first forming your own.” Members of the opposite party may also spread false information about the opposing candidate in order to direct votes towards their desired decision. According to D’Amato, “Don’t be swayed by scandals or mudslinging in the media without looking further into these stories [because] you might end up liking a candidate more by seeing how they have handled themselves in a bad situation.” One of the most important aspects of becoming an informed voter is to ignore attempts of persuasion and false information by standing firm in beliefs and decisions.
    Informed voters are individuals who have knowledge of the presidential candidate’s intentions and can withstand any forms of persuasion from the opposing party. Through these qualities, informed voters will base their decisions on credible facts and opinions. If voters are informed and understand all aspects of the election, their decisions will be solely based upon their choices and beliefs.

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  • Jaden from North Carolina

    Being an informed voter is part of being an American citizen. Voting is a civic duty that we have the opportunity to cast every election. In America the citizens are blessed to be able to vote for the people that run our country. Being an informed voter is important because of education on the candidates and the duty of American citizens.

    Education of the candidates is an important part of being an informed voter. As a high school student I am not old enough to vote yet, but when I am of age I will always do research and educate myself before I vote someone into office. Casting a ballot without doing information about your candidates is not a smart way of voting. In an article about educating yourself before voting it says, “It is challenging to consider whether a candidate is a good leader based on the image they portray.” (Minier) Knowing who you are voting for helps the future of America. We all want our voices to be heard, we just have to use our voices in the right way.

    Voting is one of our duties as American citizens. As voting being one of our duties, that means who are not forced to vote but highly recommended. When voting for big or even smaller positions in office we need to be very open minded and educated. We should never vote for someone just because our friends and families say we should because that could affect America’s future. If an individual does not like either candidate they should not cast a vote because they feel as if they have to. That is why voting is not mandatory. If voting was made mandatory “Doing so will push back against voter suppression and tear down barriers to participation because the best way to protect the right to vote is to underscore that it is also a civic duty.” (Amber Herrie and E.J. Dionne) The smart thing for the future of America is to keep voting a civic duty because no vote is better than an uneducated one.

    Educated votes and knowing it is a civic duty are big parts of being an informed voter. Knowing about your candidates and casting responsible and smart votes is what is best for the future of America.

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    Being an informed voter is part of being an American citizen. Voting is a civic duty that we have the opportunity to cast every election. In America t…

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  • Hayden from North Carolina

    The United States government is considered to be a representative democracy. Every two to four years, local, state, and national elections are held. When these different elections occur, every voter eligible individual can cast a vote to help decide who will represent their interests in the different levels of government. With the massive growth of technology and social media, the dynamic of elections and being a voter has completely shifted in the twenty-first century. Voting is considered one’s civic duty and should be done in an informed fashion. For one to be an informed voter in twenty-first century America, they must understand the importance of and be active in state and local elections as well as be familiar with the laws governing the voting process in their state.
    In the United States, local governments, state governments, and the federal government all hold some individual power in lawmaking and enforcement that is not encroached upon by the higher level of government. State and Local government officials make up the majority of officials in our country and are directly elected by the people (Federal Voting Assistance Program). These elections allow for all voter eligible citizens to be able to have a say who they feel will best oversee key aspects of their lives that they interact with on a daily basis. These key aspects can include things such as “Police departments, libraries, and schools — not to mention driver’s licenses and parking tickets (United States Government).” With all of these key functions of governments that are handled at the state and local level, one would think that the voter turnout for these elections would match or be greater than that of our federal elections. Sadly, that has historically not been the case. While voter turnout for presidential elections is historically around 60 percent, the average voter turnout for the 144 largest cities’ mayoral elections was around 21 percent (Knight Foundation). Many citizens currently feel that their voice is not being heard because they do not see changes in their day to day lives. For a voter to be informed and make intelligent decisions that benefit them, they must consider these elections for individuals that will oversee the governmental functions that most impact their daily lives. These elections will allow for one’s voice to be heard in levels of government closer to them. Understanding of and purposeful participation in these elections highlights a key aspect of being an informed voter in the United States.
    Once an individual understands the importance of all levels of elections and knows who they will vote for, they must familiarize themselves with the voting laws of their state to ensure they are properly and completely informed. In the United States, election laws are left up to and enforced by each individual state. With new technology, changing times, and an electorate that is continuously growing, election laws have become increasingly nuanced and complicated. For example, although some things such as taking a picture of your ballot to show that you voted may seem harmless, it is currently illegal in 14 states (Demsas). Also, some states like Missouri do not allow partisan attire to be worn to polling stations when one is voting (Hoffman). These rules make up a huge part of the voting process and violating them can invalidate one’s vote as well as possibly carry further legal trouble. A quick search of voting law will help prevent any issue from arising. For one to be an informed voter, they must ensure that they know what to do when casting their vote to ensure that it is safely counted with no miniscule infraction being able to invalidate their vote.
    As shown by the evidence, navigating and understanding the voting process in the twenty first century may be a challenge to many voter eligible citizens. An individual must understand the importance of and participate in lower level elections as well as be familiar with the voting process of their state to be considered an informed voter.

    Sources
    Demsas, J. (2020, October 28). Ballot selfies, state by state. Vox. https://www.vox.com/21523858/ballot-selfies-state-rules.

    Americans can vote. Wherever they are. Federal Voting Assistance Program. https://www.fvap.gov/info/about-absentee-voting/elections.

    Hoffman, E. (2020, October 27). Missouri voters urged to be prepared and informed. https://krcgtv.com/news/local/missouri-voters-urged-to-be-prepared-and-informed.

    Why Millennials Don’t Vote for Mayor. Knight Foundation. (2015, June 4). https://knightfoundation.org/reports/why-millennials-dont-vote-mayor/.

    The United States Government. State & Local Government. The White House. https://www.whitehouse.gov/about-the-white-house/state-local-government/.

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    The United States government is considered to be a representative democracy. Every two to four years, local, state, and national elections are held. W…

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  • Jonah from Kentucky

    An informed voter in 21st century America knows the policies of all candidates. It is vital to know what all candidates stand for. Not only that, but they must know and be able to weigh the pros and cons for each stance. For example, taxes. Voters must consider the consequences on other aspects of the U.S. if a candidate promises to lower taxes. Another example is healthcare. Voters should know how it affects the private healthcare sector and the economy if a candidate promises to publicize health care. It is not enough to vote for a candidate just because of distaste for the other candidate. Policies matter. It is also very important to know the history of each candidate. Voters must be able to compare what candidates are claiming to accomplish with their past trends.

    An informed voter in the 21st century also uses unbiased media outlets. The media has become such a vital facet in modern politics that all voters must understand the biases and take everything from the media with a grain of salt. Furthermore, informed voters must fact check all fact sources. Fact checking prevents informed voters from misinformation.

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    An informed voter in 21st century America knows the policies of all candidates. It is vital to know what all candidates stand for. Not only that, but …

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  • Vincent from Kentucky

    It is impossible to be up-to-date on every political issue there is. It is impossible to know every minuscule detail of every proposed plan. However, there are millions of posts, many of which repeat themselves, that help inform voters in effective and efficient ways.
    The first step to being an informed voter is to take every statistic, fact, and opinion with a grain of salt. Every social media post is biased in some way and purposefully mislead the viewers to misinform the viewer. This is why it is crucial to check for sources on all posts and to fact check any convincing information. There are countless accredited news outlets that are trustworthy and relatively unbiased, but it is up to the viewer to weed out the bad ones to find the truth.
    The second step is to research the other side. Most voters have an opinion on many key issues or political parties before much research is done. However, valuable information can be lost if every piece of information that one consumes is one-sided. Absorbing only heavily biased information leads to misinformation of the other side. Considering the popular vote is relatively close to 50/50 in most elections, it is irresponsible to believe that half of the population is misinformed or blatantly wrong on a particular issue without understanding their aspect.
    The final step is to have political conversations. Nothing is more valuable to understanding the true nature of politics than to understand the factual, personal, and emotional aspects of the issues. Politics at its core is how the government affects the people that it governs. There is a level of emotion and personality to every issue that can go unnoticed in fact-based news articles or social media posts. This is how an informed voter is able to incorporate every aspect of the issues into their opinion and decision on how to vote.
    In the 21st century, there are so many resources available that can effectively and efficiently inform voters about everything related to politics. It is up to the voter to understand how to navigate the posts and to inform themselves and others.

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    It is impossible to be up-to-date on every political issue there is. It is impossible to know every minuscule detail of every proposed plan. However, …

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  • Braden from Kentucky

    Amid an era of Twitter feeds and Facebook walls, how can we know that the voters of America are truly informed? An informed voter is an individual that knows both sides of an argument or issue. They vote for their personal beliefs, not just along party lines. Throughout the 21st century, society has been moving more toward completely digital media consumption, with newspapers becoming a thing of the past. Cable news numbers are dwindling, however; websites like Facebook have become very popular news outlets for both young and old alike… but can we trust it? With over 70% of adults in the United States using the platform, this website has a very real impact on the election. The website analyzes your screentime and tailors your feed and advertisements to your interests which can be a good thing for businesses and ads, however; many people are not seeing advertisements from the opposite party. Individuals are only seeing the ads tailored to their political beliefs, and there is no intermingling of differing beliefs and opinions which was seen on cable news networks. Facebook is a great tool for the news, however; it does little to truly inform our voting population of both sides to an argument, and only further polarizes American society today between red and blue.

    https://www.cnbc.com/2020/09/19/2020-presidential-election-facebook-and-information-manipulation.html
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/traversmark/2020/03/21/facebook-spreads-fake-news-faster-than-any-other-social-website-according-to-new-research/?sh=1351c5996e1a

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    Amid an era of Twitter feeds and Facebook walls, how can we know that the voters of America are truly informed? An informed voter is an individual tha…

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  • Griffin from Kentucky

    Through the polarization of today’s country, we have forgotten what it means to be an informed voter. In order to help combat this, we can find ways to learn more about issues that are important to us.

    In modern times, being an informed voter means understanding the viewpoints of every presidential candidate on issues that are important to you. For example, if you are a Catholic concerned about newborn rights, you should understand how each candidate feels on abortion. To this person, knowing a candidate’s stance on fracking might not be as important. Nevertheless, it does not hurt to pick a side on such an issue and apply that to the presidential candidates. If someone was passionate about the environment, it would be important for them to understand the candidates’ viewpoints on carbon emissions and global warming. Again, while other issues might not be as important to that individual, it does not hurt to be informed and take a stance.

    In the end, being an informed voter is forming issues on key topics that are important to that individual and applying them to the presidential candidate. While understanding minor issues is still considerable, it might not have a large impact on that individual’s voting preference. Understanding what a voter considers to be major issues will help guide that individual to vote for whom they feel would best serve this country.

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    Through the polarization of today’s country, we have forgotten what it means to be an informed voter. In order to help combat this, we can find ways…

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  • Kaitlyn from Kentucky

    Being an informed voter in the 21st century can be very difficult. There are many different issues being debated and lots of places to get information, and either side will say certain networks and sites are not to be trusted. To be an informed voter in the 21st century consists of being aware of the candidates running and their platforms, where you stand on key issues, and researching areas where you have questions. In order to truly know what the candidate believes in, a voter must look at their platforms prior to voting. These platforms will detail where each candidate stands on key issues and it could also contain what they plan to do if elected/reelected. Listening to the commercials that are constantly on TV is not good enough. These commercials are often produced by PACs and Super PACs and there is not much truth contained in the commercials. Looking at the platforms allows voters to compare where they stand on key issues to where that specific candidate stands. As a voter, where you stand on key issues might be the single most important part of being an informed voter. This decides who you vote for, potentially what political party you align with, and what you advocate for. Voters must be well informed before taking their stance on key issues. While it can be difficult to research these things, it is important to be well informed when making decisions. It is beneficial for voters to be aware of where certain networks and sites lean towards so that they are able to detect biases in their information. Lots of the issues presented can also have terminology that is unfamiliar and confusing. It is also important to research these terms so that there are little to no questions when looking at platforms of candidates and paying attention to what is happening in the country currently.

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    Being an informed voter in the 21st century can be very difficult. There are many different issues being debated and lots of places to get information…

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  • Cody from Kentucky

    I think what it means to be an informed voter in the 21st century is to be a voter who knows the facts about each candidate and their policies, the effect of these policies and what it means for them. So many people vote based off of character, which does play a role, but only focus on that and not the policies. Then they wonder why something didn’t work out for them. Informed voters should be every voter because it pays to know the truth.

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    I think what it means to be an informed voter in the 21st century is to be a voter who knows the facts about each candidate and their policies, the ef…

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  • Gavin from Kentucky

    In modern America, many throw around the term informed voters often to attack the side that opposes their candidates but in reality informed voting is more important now than ever before. To be an informed voter there are some basic requirements that should be met. It should be necessary that a voter at the very least knows the basics of each side’s policies if they wish to be informed. Far too many people in modern elections are often swept up by emotions and vote based on that. However, the real driving force behind who a person votes for should be reason and logic, not emotion. If you vote solely on emotion you are no better than those who simply watch as disaster strikes. A vote based on emotion is not backed by fact or logic it’s simply backed by personal bias and feelings. In modern times many believe that they cannot trust the media. Those who depend solely on one media source for their entire knowledge of candidates and voting could also be classified as uninformed. Informed voters will sacrifice their time researching the candidates and spend time getting invested in their policies and politics. Uninformed voters will simply vote at the first sign of red or blue. Truly it is a shame the amount of uninformed voters that run rampant in America however this is likely not going to change much in the future. As both of the majority parties move to further radicals the media becomes more biased and sensational. Unfortunately, the majority of Americans use only a few media sources as their primary source for everything political. Many Americans also likely vote based more on emotion and party loyalty than reason and logic. Until this fundamentally changes it is unlikely that American elections will begin to see more informed voters.

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    In modern America, many throw around the term informed voters often to attack the side that opposes their candidates but in reality informed voting is…

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  • James from Kentucky

    An informed voter in the 21st century is more than just someone preferring one candidate to another. An informed voter is one who analyzes the facts objectively and keeps an open mind about both candidates. what separates and informed voter from an uninformed voter is how they research and look at the candidates. An informed voter looks at all the candidates ahead of time and compares their policies and records to determine which candidate is better in their own opinion. An uninformed voter on the other hand pays little attention to the candidates themselves and only votes based off of party line or based off of personal preference. Uninformed voters are not just comprised of disinterested voters, but also of voters who are hamfisted on only voting one certain way. These voters will either usually ignore or outright dispute their candidates records, policies, and actions even when the facts are indisputable. An informed voter, on the other hand, will look at the facts and compare the candidates. Informed voters, even if they already have a very strong preference, will still look at the facts to double check their preference. An informed voter may still vote along party line, and may still go into an election knowing exactly who they will vote for. The difference, however, is that informed voters still look at the facts and can still be swayed if the facts don’t support their candidate.

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    An informed voter in the 21st century is more than just someone preferring one candidate to another. An informed voter is one who analyzes the facts o…

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  • Sydney from Kentucky

    Being an informed voter in the 21st Century means being aware of what candidates are speaking on and what policy they represent. Being an informed voter means understanding both sides and deciding what each individual thinks is best for the country. Voters do not have to agree with everything they hear and really should not agree. Instead, they should hear the argument that each side makes and decide whose argument best aligns with the best outcome for the country at that time. Voters do not have to know everything about the candidates to be informed voters. They just need to know enough to make a good, rational decision.

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    Being an informed voter in the 21st Century means being aware of what candidates are speaking on and what policy they represent. Being an informed vot…

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  • Molly from Kentucky

    To be an informed voter in the 21st century is to be aware and cognizant of the platform, past, and promises of all eligible candidates as well as the power of one’s vote in respect to the electoral college or state election process of your state. Primarily, the platform of a candidate’s platform and their party’s platform is one of the most important topics to research. One must investigate the discrepancies, if any, between candidate and party platforms and why they occur. They must look into their own lives and see how those platforms are affecting or will affect them and their community. Then, they must look into the candidate’s past. Are they a morally upright person? With whom did they associate with in the past, and what are the personal convictions of those associates? How will these relationships affect the candidate? Knowing the answers to these questions are vital, because while promises are appealing, the past of a candidate is usually more telling. Finally, an informed voter must look at the promises that the candidate wishes to accomplish if they win their election. The promises must align with policies the voter agrees with and wish to see implemented on a communal or nationwide scale. They also must look into coinciding elections to see whether or not these promises will be feasible given the checks and balances in place. For example, if a Republican presidential candidate makes a certain campaign promise that contradicts the Democratic platform, the the Democratic party wins the Senate, how does that change the likelihood of the campaign promise coming into fruition? If these factors may change or sway the political party or candidate a voter may stand by, it is important for the voter to investigate these matters. Finally, to be an informed voter, a voter must be aware of the power of their vote. If they are apprehensive about whom they side with and are considering not voting, that is their choice. However, if they reside in a swing state, they have more of a responsibility to their peers and to the American people to cast their vote, as it has a larger effect on who will win the election. This, of course, is mostly relevant in terms of presidential elections, although it is applicable to districts within states.

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    To be an informed voter in the 21st century is to be aware and cognizant of the platform, past, and promises of all eligible candidates as well as the…

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  • Alec from Kentucky

    In order to be an informed voter, citizens must first understand and create a list of values and issues that are important to them in order to determine what they will be voting to support. Then, they should research each candidate and determine which candidate most closely aligns with their values and beliefs. In order to do research on candidates, they should view websites which present facts rather than editorial or opinion articles that may sway their views. They should research what each candidate has done during their political career and if their results line up with what that voter believes in. Once a voter believes they have determined who they will vote for, they should read opinion based articles which support each candidate in order to consider things that they may not have while doing their own research.

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    In order to be an informed voter, citizens must first understand and create a list of values and issues that are important to them in order to determi…

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  • Teresa from Kentucky

    To be an informed voter of the 21st century, an individual must do their own research. They must remember their own key values and beliefs, and then learn which candidate best represents them and their beliefs. One must look at all candidates to ensure that they are not just going with the candidate they think they should be voting for based on their region. To make an informed decision you have to know as much as possible about all the candidates and make sure that the sources you go to are not biased. You need to know the truth before you are informed, and in the 21st century it is nearly impossible to find a source that is not biased. Although being an informed voter will take time and effort, it is worth it because you will be able to vote for who you believe to be best for the country based on facts.

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    To be an informed voter of the 21st century, an individual must do their own research. They must remember their own key values and beliefs, and then l…

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  • Emily from Kentucky

    To be an informed voter in the 21st century means to rightfully exercise one’s personal opinions and beliefs into helping choose suitable candidates for the betterment of the country. Voting is a very important aspect because it dictates who will run the country and how it will be runned based upon the party of a candidate, their belief system, and even their own principles. The people must vote for who they believe is best qualified rather than blindly voting and putting their vote to waste. A candidate should be actively chosen for what they represent. Voting is essential to the people because it is a way for individual citizens’ voices to be heard. The right to vote has been given to the people, so they should use that right wisely and not take it for granted.

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    To be an informed voter in the 21st century means to rightfully exercise one’s personal opinions and beliefs into helping choose suitable candidates f…

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  • Rachel from Kentucky

    To be an informed voter means that you know information about each of the candidates. By knowing information about each of the candidates, you will be able to make a well informed decision when you go to vote. In order to be an informed voter, you should know about the candidates plans while they are in office and what they are going to do to improve our nation. It is better to go to the polls knowing information about the candidate that you are voting for rather than voting blindly and picking a random candidate. It is important that voters stay informed about the various candidates during an important election. Our country needs a strong and trustworthy leader who will protect our country and uphold the constitution of our nation. The results of the election will be more accurate if a majority of those who voted were informed about each candidate.

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    To be an informed voter means that you know information about each of the candidates. By knowing information about each of the candidates, you will be…

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  • Bella from Kentucky

    To be an informed voter in the US in the 21st century means someone knows who is running for the certain position up for election, and what each candidate’s platform is. To be an informed voter means that you choose which party candidate you identify best with. This means that someone learns of each party, the candidates running for each party, and the platforms they are running off of. Someone then votes based on what they believe will benefit themselves and the rest of the US. Basically being an informed voter means being able to identify the differences between the candidates and their platforms, and being able to tell others why you are voting for who you chose to vote for. Someone needs to be able to give proven facts on why they voted for a specific person, and someone needs to be able to have a discussion about it. Being an informed voter in the 21st century is knowing the facts, not the gossip, that is spread through the media. It is being able to follow what is accurate and disregarding the false information. Basically know the difference between the candidates and their platforms, and make sure it is factual information rather than false rumors spread through the media.

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    To be an informed voter in the US in the 21st century means someone knows who is running for the certain position up for election, and what each candi…

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  • Zach from Kentucky

    To be an informed voter means to understand the duties and responsibilities to vote every time there is an election occuring. You must know who you are voting for and why you are voting for him/her. You must understand their positions, and what the wish to do for you state/country. Finally, you have to ponder on the effects your choice may have in the future. To be informed means to fully acknowledge your responsibility to vote and make the right choice.

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    To be an informed voter means to understand the duties and responsibilities to vote every time there is an election occuring. You must know who you ar…

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  • Joseph from Kentucky

    It takes time and effort to be an informed voter in 21st century America. It is easy for a person to get all their news from one source and call it a day. But because many news outlets today have a particular bias for one party or another, it is very easy to only keep up with the news that favors one party. For a voter to be well-informed they must view multiple news sources, comparing the arguments different news sources make. Although a person may not agree with a particular party’s view they still need to research it so they can fully understand it and then be able to make a coherent argument on why they are against that viewpoint. A voter also needs to recognize potential bias in their environment that could affect their views. Being able to view issues from an unbiased perspective allows voters to see what they truly agree with and therefore making more sure of their beliefs.

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    It takes time and effort to be an informed voter in 21st century America. It is easy for a person to get all their news from one source and call it a …

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  • Matt from Kentucky

    In the 21st century politics have taken a huge swing from the past. People shift more and more to the middle ground of views and ideals in their candidates. Informing yourself for the election now means doing research and listening to candidates debate. It also means asking questions. It is hard to accurately associate yourself to a candidate when you do not listen to their opinions and plans making it even harder to vote for someone you like. While it is true you may not ever truly agree with your candidate choice on everything knowing what each party is fighting for is the best way to ensure you make the best choice. Sadly, voting turnouts have been declining as a new generation rises because they do not hold the same values as past generations. There is a huge shift to a middle ground in viewpoints and not so much on the radical side of being democrat or republican. Many Americans have loosely associated themselves with one of the two parties or have gone to join a third party or even be non affiliated. Those that do vote, many follow their parents in voting which is somewhat informing if you ask questions. However, blindly voting the same as your parents is not being informed because you only vote for them because your parents did.

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    In the 21st century politics have taken a huge swing from the past. People shift more and more to the middle ground of views and ideals in their candi…

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  • Mackenzie from Indiana

    To be an informed voter in this day and age is to immerse yourself in the solid facts about our country’s government, political leaders, political candidates, economy, policies, and the many other factors that will determine an election such as this one. There is not a single excuse to be an uninformed voter in 21st century America. The amount of resources provided to voters, young and old, facilitate the ability to make an educated decision about candidates running for government office and their values and goals. Sometimes, it’s a scary thing to separate oneself from bias and push oneself to make an informed decision that fits your political agenda, as it may mean deviating away from the perspectives of family, friends, or neighbors. However, that’s what being an informed voter is all about. Providing yourself with solid facts to form your own well-considered decision about political candidates running for office, regardless of what the media or those around you are pressuring you to do.

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    To be an informed voter in this day and age is to immerse yourself in the solid facts about our country’s government, political leaders, political c…

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  • Sydney from Kentucky

    Many different factors play into determining whether or not someone is an informed voter. To begin, I think it is very important to be familiar with the “lingo” of voting, elections, and state regulations. Eligible voters should know when they should be registered by, where their votes will be taken at, and how the electoral college system works. If they know this, they can at least have a base to go from and can understand what is happening on election day and the subsequent days. However, there is much more to being an informed voter than just understanding how the system works. A voter, regardless of their party affiliation, should familiarize themselves with the platform of both republican and democratic candidates. This will give the voter a more firm basis of understanding to go off of when casting their vote on election day. Furthermore, this ensures that voters are voting based on what they want for their country and not just voting a red or blue ticket without understanding the potential repercussions of that decision. I also believe that it is beneficial to stay up to date with news regarding each of the candidates because something could come that a voter disagrees with and it is important to vote based on character and values rather than just political party. In a similar fashion, when watching news, voters should consume it from both parties so that they can understand both perspectives and get the most well rounded, accurate information in the end. People should understand the bias that news agencies can have and should make sure the news they base their votes off is accurate and a well rounded display of the candidate.

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    Many different factors play into determining whether or not someone is an informed voter. To begin, I think it is very important to be familiar with t…

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  • Isabella from Kentucky

    To be an informed voter in the 21st century may be similar to what it has meant in the past, but has a few differences. In these trying times we are currently in, a lot is at stake. In order to be “informed” when voting this year is to understand all the aspects of each candidate. Understand what they personally believe in and what they say they will do for the country. Digging deeper into a candidates stances on certain topics and their past can provide a much more accurate way of voting. One should not only understand a candidate, but also the topics of concern and how they personally feel about them. For example, if you do not know the in’s and out’s of an issue like abortion, how will you know you are making the right choice when voting on it? A lot goes into being an informed voter, especially now.

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    To be an informed voter in the 21st century may be similar to what it has meant in the past, but has a few differences. In these trying times we are c…

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  • Hannah from Kentucky

    These days, being informed on political topics is slightly difficult. The media can’t always be trusted because of bias, so it is up to us to do our own research and believe what we think is true. Being an informed voter means doing your research and forming your own opinions no matter what the people around you believe. Voting is about making your individual voice heard, not the voices around you. Every voter should have a solid reasoning behind who they voted for. Each vote affects our next four years in America, so it should not be taken lightly.

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    These days, being informed on political topics is slightly difficult. The media can’t always be trusted because of bias, so it is up to us to do our…

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  • Grace from Kentucky

    Being an informed voter means doing your research, to be an informed voter means to form your own opinion based on unbiased research. Good places to research who your candidates are and what they stand for are the BBC and the candidates platforms themselves. Based on that you should vote for the candidate that you feel represents you.

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    Being an informed voter means doing your research, to be an informed voter means to form your own opinion based on unbiased research. Good places to r…

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  • Carson from North Carolina

    The moment of truth has finally arrived. Election day in the U.S came and went. The buildup was long and stressful. “Get Out and Vote” campaigns bombarded the country for what seems like an eternity. However just voting isn’t enough. Voting based on a well informed opinion is what is really important. To be well informed means to understand the important issues that plague the U.S. and how each candidate plans to attack these problems, as well as how the election process works.

    Each candidate has a platform that they run on. This platform is constructed of all of their political stances. For example as stated by presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on his website, he believes that a single payer healthcare system would fix America’s healthcare crisis. If Sanders were to be elected he would attempt to change the U.S’s healthcare system. However it is not enough for voters to just know the issues and how the candidates plan to solve these issues, but also how these proposed plans would actually affect the country. A single payer healthcare plan seems wonderful on the surface, but there are many downsides to this radical approach. Many people working in the healthcare field would lose their jobs or have their salaries drastically reduced. This is due to the nature of the socialistic approach of a single payer plan; If there is no competition and prices drop, so will the overall revenue and quality of the hospitals. Everyone voting factor in, not only the intended consequences, but also the unintended consequences of each candidate’s proposed solutions. The key to becoming a well informed voter is to understand the “How” and “Why” behind each candidate’s platform.

    To be considered an informed voter, one must also understand how their vote affects the election. Many people today do not understand what system the U.S uses, or why they use this system. The U.S is a Democratic Republic built on compromises. The U.S is not a straight democracy. The people essentially elect other people to make decisions. This is one of the core principles that the country was founded on. Our Election system reflects that. The U.S does not elect the president with a popular vote. The president is elected by the Electoral College. The Electoral College was the result of a compromise made during the drafting of the Constitution. As stated by Alex Keyssar, a professor of history and social policy at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, the Electoral College is essentially a combination of the Congressional system and the compromises between large and small states. This compromise allowed small states and rural citizens to have a voice as well. Whether the Electoral College is the right way to elect the nation’s president, it is important for voters to be informed about how it works.

    Every election year the country is stirred into a frenzy. Political campaigns drown the country with advertisements. However, it is important to cut through the thick forest of misleading propaganda to become an informed voter. In order to be an informed voter one must understand how each candidate plans to tackle the issues that the country faces, and understand how their vote is counted.

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    The moment of truth has finally arrived. Election day in the U.S came and went. The buildup was long and stressful. “Get Out and Vote” campaigns b…

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  • Julia from Oklahoma

         Jay Griffiths, a writer, once said, “Being adequately informed is a democratic duty, just as the vote is a democratic right. A misinformed electorate, voting without knowledge, is not a true democracy.” 
             An informed voter means you are informed about BOTH candidates. The definition of informed is having or showing knowledge of a particular subject or situation. One must educate themselves by watching debates, researching, etc. about both parties. An informed voter knows the beliefs/principle of both parties and of each candidate.
          The opposite of informed is ignorant. The definition of ignorant is lacking knowledge or awareness in general; uneducated or unsophisticated. An informed voter is not biased. An informed voter does not vote for a candidate based on their party. An informed voter does not believe everything they see on social media. Voting uniformed is almost as dangerous, lazy, and ungrateful than not voting at all.
         In conclusion, an informed voter compares the facts and their personal opinions, and votes for the side that best matches up.

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         Jay Griffiths, a writer, once said, “Being adequately informed is a democratic duty, just as the vote is a democratic right. A misinformed ele…

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  • Eleanor from Oklahoma

    Being an informed voter means learning and following news from both the Democratic and the Republican parties. Most of the time we only look at the information we want to see, and gloss over or ignore the information that we don’t agree with. Using credible online news sites can help. According to “The Social Dilemma,” a Netflix documentary, phones gauge our reactions to the content they put onto our dash/any other item that feeds us information. If the reaction is good, and we spend more time on it, our phones will feed us more of that content. This is how we end up becoming so biased and divided with our opinions. Informed voters manipulate this, and follow content from both political parties, therefore becoming more informed with the content our 21st Century gadgets feed us.

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    Being an informed voter means learning and following news from both the Democratic and the Republican parties. Most of the time we only look at the in…

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  • Emma from Oklahoma

    To be an informed voter is very necessary for a good next four years for our country. You should know what each candidate believes in, their past/ record, and if their beliefs are known to be a bit flexible because that, generally, isn’t very good.

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    To be an informed voter is very necessary for a good next four years for our country. You should know what each candidate believes in, their past/ rec…

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  • Divya from Oklahoma

    There are many aspects of being an informed voter in the 21st century of America. One of the most important aspects of being an informed voter is knowing who the presidential candidates are, their running vice-presidential mates, and what they stand for. Most of the population has direct access to technology and media sources, so the information is already present in those sites. Most of the general population also knows the main candidates, and the knowledge can simply be passed on by word of mouth. Presidential candidates also have promotional banners throughout cities, so information can be acquired there. Knowing a presidential candidate’s beliefs is crucial for the outcome of the nation. As an informed voter, one must consider the beliefs of the candidate before voting because that will impact the voter and the country. Knowledge of current events and issues and how a potential president reacts is crucial on means of voting. A major way to acquire this information is by watching the presidential and vice-presidential debates between the major political parties presented and/or streamed by news media services. One must make decisions without influence from outside sources including the presidential candidates themselves and their potentially negative advertisements, media sources, or one’s acquaintances. Another important point is knowing how, where, and the deadline to vote. This year the deadline is November 3, but counters are appearing to accept late ballots. The poll location should be the one closest to a citizen’s current address. The “how” aspect will be answered on the ballot itself and/or the poll will give instructions on the proper guidelines. Every vote counts in the long run as it is a responsibility for an American to vote. Being an informed voter impacts every American’s life and ultimately, the fate of America.

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    There are many aspects of being an informed voter in the 21st century of America. One of the most important aspects of being an informed voter is know…

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  • Mantej from Arizona

    A citizen’s role as an informed voter neither starts nor ends at the ballot box. The power of our participatory democracy goes beyond picking up a blue or black pen, filling in circles beside the candidates of our liking, sealing and signing an envelope, and submitting it. The journey to becoming an informed voter takes time and involves much more with roots in education and action.

    Education is imperative in the fragile and polarized society that we live in today. As America’s adversaries continue to spread misinformation to manipulate the electorate, an informed voter should be wary of what is accurate and what is not. An informed voter should base their opinions on the common ground of facts that we all share and seek to reimagine political debates from denialism vs. acceptance of the issues to arguments over solutions that can best address them. An informed voter should adopt a nuanced and complex perspective to tackle urgent problems instead of resorting to the false dichotomy (Pro- or Anti-, For or Against) that has hindered compromise and bipartisanship for far too long.

    Equipped with a new depth of understanding, informed voters should then act to translate their beliefs into reality. Actions that go beyond merely exercising our right to vote. Transforming abstract values into a concrete policy agenda requires organizing, mobilizing, and energizing others to join your mission. An informed voter becomes an informed community that then becomes an informed society to solve the nation’s most alarming problems.

    Filling in a ballot is not the end goal. Rather, it is the first step to create and drive something larger.

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    A citizen’s role as an informed voter neither starts nor ends at the ballot box. The power of our participatory democracy goes beyond picking up a b…

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  • Parker from Oregon

    Although the act of being an informed voter is self-defining, it remains hard to analyze. In other words, it is easy to see but difficult to explain. Perhaps the ideal explanation that an informed voter is one who practices sufficient, bipartisan, and broad, research on political situations that ultimately devise voting decisions. Note the distinction between the research of each issue and the actual vote on each issue. The friction that one meets in deriving meaning from being informed is how much of a role does one’s values play in it. Would anyone consider an individual an informed voter if they are staunchly partisan and only learn dissenting arguments so that they can tear them apart? Such action promotes a tendency to a certain question: did they actually hear the reasons? for if they did not contemplate the value of opposing claims, isn’t their vote a refutation of the function of democracy? But speculation on this extremely specific case had limited utility. It assumes moral negligence, which is less common in a political world of values. It may be that it is better to examine the symptoms instead of the psychology (or admittedly the philosophy). What is characteristic of informed voting is a distinct recognition and inspection of reasonable sources and theses used towards a moral and logical conclusion. It is separate from the distasteful feelings of partisan rhetoric and Us vs. Them mentality, although is not necessarily apart from their reasons. In the simplest way, it is care and effort to do what is right.

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    Although the act of being an informed voter is self-defining, it remains hard to analyze. In other words, it is easy to see but difficult to explain. …

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  • Arielle from California

    An informed voter is someone who has researched each person or proposition on the ballot and makes decisions in terms of their research. They do not choose to vote for someone solely on the basis of that person’s political affiliation and have done background research on their policies and political ideologies. They have looked at both sides of the spectrum concerning the media and the news, since so much of it is skewed towards one side. They understand the propositions past the 30 second ads on television, researching the negative and positive consequences. All in all, an informed voter doesn’t let their emotions cloud their judgment and makes rational decisions based on the prior research they have done.

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    An informed voter is someone who has researched each person or proposition on the ballot and makes decisions in terms of their research. They do not c…

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  • maya from New Hampshire

    Being an informed voter in today’s society means really knowing about what you’re voting for. Read up on the candidates, learn about all of the different places you can vote a representative for, and figure out if you’re more liberal or conservative. You should really educate yourself because if you don’t, how do you know you’re making the right choice for our country, and our people? Many people don’t educate properly, or may even end up not following news and not voting in the election at all.

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    Being an informed voter in today’s society means really knowing about what you’re voting for. Read up on the candidates, learn about all of the diffe…

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  • Artem from Illinois

    In the Information Age, knowledge became much more widely available. Being truly informed is no longer a privilege enjoyed by few – now even the common people can afford to be educated. Of course, this change impacted one of the biggest events in the US, if not the world – the elections. But with this new abundance of data, one cannot help but wonder – what are the primary issues an informed voter should know about? Well, for starters, an informed voter must be at least somewhat educated about the American political system. The extensive knowledge of all intricacies of such a complex subject is of course not a requirement – even experts who studied it for many years do not know all ins and outs. However, being aware of the basics of US politics, such as electoral college, checks and balances, differences between the three branches, Constitutional amendments, or responsibilities of different government offices is essential. This way, the voter would know how their vote impacts the overall political climate in their locality, the country, or possibly even the world. Secondly, an informed voter must of course know about the candidates in the election. This includes such facts as their personal and political histories, campaigns, and primary policies. After all, in order to make the right choice, a voter must know who they will vote for, and what to expect if each of the candidates is elected. Aside from every candidate’s voting histories and political promises, knowing their personalities is also a great measure of how successful they will be at fulfilling those promises. Finally, while the rise of the Internet made more information readily available, it did the same to misinformation. As such, now more than ever, differentiating between credible and noncredible sources is an important attribute of an informed voter. Being able to identify biased sources, knowing who and what to trust, and rationally interpreting the information one receives are all parts of this crucial skill. Having this ability will let one acquire all the other information needed for voting. Thus, in modern day United States, the most important aspects of being an informed voter are knowledge of the political system, awareness of the candidates’ policies and personalities, and the ability to research credible sources.

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    In the Information Age, knowledge became much more widely available. Being truly informed is no longer a privilege enjoyed by few – now even the commo…

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  • Adam from North Carolina

    Politics is a very confusing topic full of artifice and lies. This means that people tend to believe both lies and the truth. People are very biased and tend to listen to only the good things about a candidate or a party, to be an informed voter you must be informed through multiple news organizations because they are opinionated and see the ideas from both sides. An informed voter must be knowledgeable about the issues and positions of candidates when voting. They must also make decisions without influence from outside factors intended to persuade those who may not fully understand a candidate’s platform or ideas.
    Research is a big part of successfully being informed as a voter. You must find out which options we have as candidates first. Once you know your options, you can begin researching their viewpoints on the major issues. Be careful to choose sources of information that are nonpartisan.
    As pointed out in the aascu informed voting article when preparing for speeches, candidates will often highlight their strengths, stress their opponent’s flaws, and protect themselves from their own weaknesses. The speeches are written and rehearsed to appeal to a certain demographic of people to help the candidate win. Candidates tend to write and rehearse possible answers for potential questions. During the debates, candidates will link answers to a larger theme often drawing from talking points. They do this to bring the viewers back to the idea of their campaign and to draw voters.
    As said in the CBU article that by voting we are able to hold politicians and political parties accountable for their words and deeds that they have promised. Approximately 2.8 billion people live in countries with governments that are so oppressive that they don’t even enjoy the most basic political rights and civil liberties. Without the right to vote in competitive and meaningful elections, they will continue to be governed by oppressive governments that have little to no regard for their well-being. We have the opportunity to have freedom of information and to vote meaning we should have the best leader because we have the resources to find the best candidate then choose them.

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    Politics is a very confusing topic full of artifice and lies. This means that people tend to believe both lies and the truth. People are very biased a…

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  • Cole from North Carolina

    There are many factors that go into the election process for any candidate and registered voter, whether it be the President or a judge in a city. Not all voters are aware of all these factors that go into voting and electing these candidates. Being an informed voter in the 21st century means that voters know the rules behind the voting process and are aware of the beliefs of the candidates.

    Voters need to be able to know and follow the rules in voting in order to be an informed voter. Some people may not know all the rules behind voting, especially young, inexperienced voters. Some people may not know what the voting ballot looks like, so, “If you want, you can go ahead and mark that sample ballot how you want to vote, fold it up, put it in your pocket and it will make your time at the polls sometimes a lot quicker” (Hoffman). Young voters will be prepared for when they get to vote, by using similar methods relating to the sample ballots. Young voters also have to deal knowing what certain terms mean in the voting environment. Terms like “election fraud, elector, poll worker, poll watcher, and voting by mail”, are important for voters to be informed. (Shannon). Voters need to know certain terms before they vote because an instance could happen and they might break the rules without even knowing what they did wrong. If these terms are known, maybe the voter wouldn’t have broken the rules.

    For voters to know the beliefs of a candidate is very important in choosing someone who will serve their role to the best of their abilities. One good way of studying a candidate is to “review their voting record, especially on bills covering the issues most important to you” (Masterton). If the candidates beliefs fit a person’s beliefs, then the person has just informed themselves on who they will vote for when it is time. If a candidate’s beliefs contradict the voter’s beliefs, then they most likely will not vote for that candidate. Voters that are watching a debate or reading an article should go in with an open mind about both candidates because a person might support one side, but the other side’s candidate made some really good points. After watching or reading, “take a small amount of time to research both candidates in an election you are thinking about voting in” (Horning). A person may realize that they support the other candidates beliefs and this causes them to change their mind about who they are voting for. Every little aspect of voting matters in the election of government officials.

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    There are many factors that go into the election process for any candidate and registered voter, whether it be the President or a judge in a city. Not…

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  • Jarrett from Kentucky

    In 21st century America to be an informed voter means a lot of different things. To be an informed voter means to learn and or inform yourself substantially on both sides/candidates. Whether this is in regards to foreign policy, economics, or even character informing yourself means to know the ideologies and personas of both parties as unbiased as possible and make an informed decision from there in order to ensure the change that you want as a voter wants to see. It is also important to know what issues are most important to you as a voter. For example if gun control is a prominent issue in your personal life and something you feel strongly about then make sure to read up and know both parties positions in the present and past to know how their stances changed, why they changed, and even if their stance changed for purely political or party purposes. It is always concerning if a candidate flip flops positions based on what is popular. For example in 2006 Joe Biden was caught on tape coming out against the proposition of same sex marriage. This is radically different from his stance today so as a voter it would be good to know what changed and why he has shifted stances on such an important issue. It is also important to make sure to get important information from sources that maybe you don’t entirely agree with. Sometimes looking on the other side of the fence can help give you a different perspective and help you keep an open mind. This is not to stay that voters should indulge in false media and or fake news as it is important to point out false and inaccurate information as well. Ultimately as a voter it is up to you to make informed decisions different people will approach this in different ways, but it is our duty as American citizens to make better and informed decisions according to our own beliefs.

    https://www.wibc.com/blogs/chicks/2006-clip-of-joe-bidens-opposition-to-gay-marriage-surfaces/

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    In 21st century America to be an informed voter means a lot of different things. To be an informed voter means to learn and or inform yourself substan…

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  • Mike from Kentucky

    An informed voter is someone who does not blindly accept information they come across regarding politics. Rather, they investigate these facts with the intent of discerning their level of veracity to the best of their ability. When an informed voter receives political information, they question and research it. They do not automatically deem information completely truthful when it comes from a particular source such as a family member, friend, or certain news source. Modern day, with the way the media can misreport facts and exaggerate situations, it is very difficult for a voter to trust news sources. An informed voter seeks out facts on an issue from multiple sources, considers both sides of that issue, and uses their judgement to determine the validity of these facts and their opinion on the matter. Impartiality is a major key to being an informed voter. When choosing a side on issues, an informed voter will understand that their bias has the potential to affect their interpretation. With this understanding, they remind themselves to take a step back and attempt to determine whether their preconceived notions affect their opinions or not.

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    An informed voter is someone who does not blindly accept information they come across regarding politics. Rather, they investigate these facts with th…

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  • Sofiia from Oklahoma

    To be an informed voter in the United States of America is a burden and a title that citizens are willing to possess. The knowledge that each of us contains is expressed in our vote. Our great nation deserves commencing leaders that can lead us to success as one. Voting entitles me the endowment of choice and creates a wonderful feeling inside me that assures our land.

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    To be an informed voter in the United States of America is a burden and a title that citizens are willing to possess. The knowledge that each of us co…

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