Several organizations have created nonpartisan voter guides to help Ohioans discover where candidates stand on key issues for the upcoming midterm election.
The Center for Christian Virtue (CCV), iVoterGuide, and BallotReady say that the reason behind the resource is to voters determine the true positions of the candidates on some of the most important issues.
“We believe democracy is built on transparent information. By aggregating democracy’s data from every level of government and making it actionable via accessible products, BallotReady works to enable all constituents to fully participate in civic life,” BallotReady said.
All three organizations have been releasing nonpartisan voter guides for at least five years, with some going back a decade-plus, to make sure voters are well informed before they go to the polls on Election Day.
Each group sends a survey to each candidate and then reports in the guide where each candidate stands on the issues. If a candidate does not want to share their position or chooses not to respond, researchers gather public statements and voting records to give voters the most unbiased information possible.
“We have to treat every candidate the same, we want to treat every candidate the same, we ask them the same kind of questions,” CCV President Aaron Baer said.
Each voter guide has its own way of identifying if a candidate answered a question, did not answer a question, or if a researcher pulled a political statement to answer the question.
The CCV voter guide marks “yes” or “no” for each answer given by the candidate. Answers based on citations are marked with a “yes” with a cross or a “no” with a cross and comments are marked with a star. If it is unclear or unknown where a candidate stands on a given issue, the answer is intentionally left blank.
iVoterGuide utilizes a panel rating system from liberal to conservative for a quick snapshot of the candidate’s values. For a more in-depth overview, voters can view verbatim responses from the candidate to the survey questions. If a candidate does not respond to a question, the guide simply says “did not answer.”
BallotReady uses a combination of survey answers and quotes pulled from the candidate’s political website. They do not differentiate between direct survey answers and comments pulled from a political website.
The survey questions in the voter guides include candidates’ positions on issues such as abortion, drug legalization, immigration, voter citizenship requirements, conceal carry, bail considerations, LGBTQ, and the death penalty, among others.
“We know that the battle for the hearts and minds of the American people is real. We are dedicated to spreading the truth and equipping people across the land to vote wisely,” iVoterGuide said.
All three organizations encourage voters to go to their websites for further information. Individuals can see candidate comments on survey questions, endorsements on candidates from a variety of advocacy organizations from all sides of the political spectrum, free voter guide resources, and links to register to vote and find a polling location.
“Elections are about much more than picking winners or losers; they’re about setting a course for our state and nation,” Baer said.
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