How to Research Political Candidates Before an Election

( – Elections only occur once every two to four years, but with the volume of media and news attention, it can seem like it happens much more frequently. As an election draws near, navigating through the barrage of ads, news articles, and social media posts about political candidates can be overwhelming. Knowing who to trust and who has your best interests at heart is difficult. However, with a bit of research and critical thinking, you can learn more about the candidates and make an informed decision on election day. Here is a guide on how to research political candidates before casting your vote

Check Their Background and Experience

Start by researching the candidate’s background and experience. Look for information on their education, career, and past political positions. You can find this information on the candidate’s website or through a simple Google search. This will help you understand their qualifications and what they bring to the table.

Look at Their Voting Record

If the candidate is currently holding a political office, you can look at their voting record to see how they have voted on issues that are important to you. You can find this information on the candidate’s website or through a government website like

Examine Their Policy Positions

Candidates often have positions on crucial issues posted on their websites. Take the time to read through these positions and compare them to your values and beliefs. Consider how their positions align with what you want to see in a candidate.

Check Their Endorsements

Politicians often receive endorsements from other political figures or organizations. Look into these endorsements to see if they align with your values and beliefs. If a candidate gets endorsements from groups or individuals you disagree with, it may be a red flag.

Research Their Funding Sources

Money plays a significant role in politics, and knowing where a candidate’s funding is coming from is important. Look into their campaign finance reports to see who is contributing to their campaign. This will give you an idea of who may have influence over the candidate if they are elected.

Stay in Touch With Local News Stations

You can educate yourself by listening to the news on the radio and television in your area. These sources can provide information about a candidate’s public appearances, recent comments to voters and the media, and how other community members feel about them. Candidate forums held by nonpartisan organizations like the League of Women Voters or the American Association of University Women may also be covered in local news, including the public access cable TV station in your community.

Attend Candidate Events

Many political candidates hold events such as town halls or rallies where voters can meet them in person and ask questions. Attend these events if possible, as they provide an opportunity to better understand the candidate’s personality, values, and priorities.

Watch Their Debates and Speeches

Debates and speeches can provide valuable insight into a candidate’s personality, communication skills, and overall political approach. Take the time to watch debates or speeches that the candidate has participated in. You will have a better understanding of their identity and principles as a result.

Check Their Social Media

Understanding a candidate’s personality and communication style can be done with the use of social media. Look at their social media accounts to see what they are posting and how they are engaging with their followers. This can give you a sense of how the candidate interacts with others and what their priorities are.

Ask The Other Members of Your Community

Asking your friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors about a candidate is an additional option to find out more about them. Speaking with neighbors in your town about a politician who is currently in office and seeking reelection can offer you a clear understanding of how the incumbent’s policies have impacted people’s lives. Your neighbors might present fresh viewpoints on a candidate or issue that you hadn’t previously thought about.

Remember, it’s important to consider all aspects of a candidate’s background, platform, and communication style. Don’t rely solely on negative campaign ads or soundbites from the news media. Do your own research and make a decision that aligns with your values and beliefs.

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