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The Waltonian Guide to…

November 6th, 2012 is the day of the 2012 Presidential Election that will decide the direction of our country for the next four years. Sounds pretty important, right? With so much on the line, why in the world wouldn’t you want to have a say?! In other words, you most definitely need to get out there and vote. However, such a decision is not to be taken lightly. Don’t stress! In this Waltonian guide you will learn how to become an informed voter in eight important steps!

1. Know where your voting district is. If your voting district is not the same as the district in which you are living, you will need to obtain an absentee ballot. To do this, you must submit an application to your county’s board of elections. Deadlines to apply for one vary by state. For Pennsylvania, it is 5 p.m. the Tuesday before election day, which is November 6th. You may then complete the absentee ballot (which they mail you) and return it to the Board of Elections.

2. Read up on the key issues. Look into where the
candidates stand on the big issues facing the nation. It is best to consult a wide variety of sources, not just big news organizations, who often may distort a candidate’s words or views based on personal bias or for dramatic effect.

3. Talk to your parents or knowledgeable superiors. They can be not only parents, but also grandparents, professors, pastors or youth group leaders, or that super politically involved aunt or uncle you may have.

4. Consult your Church. Your church will be able to give you an idea of whether or not the views of a particular candidate correspond to your faith. That way, you will not find yourself making a decision that compromises your beliefs or values.

5. Research the candidates’ voting records. Finding out how a candidate has voted on different issues throughout their political career is often a great unbiased indicator of their beliefs. As the old saying goes, a leopard doesn’t change its spots: if that’s how they felt then, chances are they still feel the same way on that issue.

6. Watch the debates. The debates are good for getting a comparison of one candidate’s beliefs against the other’s. And no, watching the Saturday Night Live version of the debates is not a reliable alternative.

7. Think of your own beliefs. Voting is ultimately YOUR decision. What do you think is important and which candidate agrees with you?

8. And finally, show up! When November 6th rolls around, get out and vote! Make the trip to the polling station or submit your absentee ballot. You should have a voice in this super important event. Take advantage of the choice you have been given, because it will most definitely affect you over the next four years!

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