…Only you can decide that. And while plenty of network news anchors, newspapers, bloggers, protesters, lobbyists and the candidates themselves have ideas about which lever you should pull (or glowing rectangle you should touch), the library does not officially endorse any candidates or political views. We do, however, help you find the resources to make the most informed decision. Our Government & Law Research page directs you to information about the 2008 Presidential Elections, booklists about the Presidential candidates, resources on political parties and tools for voters.
First of all, do you know where to vote? If not, you can go to Allegheny County’s Polling Place Locator to find out. (If you’re reading this from beyond the boundaries of lovely Pittsburgh, PA, you can find polling places from any state at Vote411.) Secondly, do you know how to work the machine? Tuesday, November 4th, 2008 will only be the second Presidential election I’ve been eligible to vote in, but I’ve been to the ballots enough times to miss those funky retro curtains and oh-so-analog, Wizard-of-Oz-style voting booths that the electronic machines replaced. If you’ve never voted before, or just want a rehearsal, Allegheny County Elections Division provides a tutorialof the newer I-Votronicmachines. Make sure you are familiar with your voting rights in case you run into a problem at the polls. If that should happen, ask to fill out a provisional ballot, so your vote will still count if a judge determines that you are indeed eligible.
Finally, there’s the big question. Just who will you vote for? There is still plenty of time to look into candidates’ positions on important issues–and plenty of guides to help you do it. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette features an online 2008 Voter Guide, which provides your district numbers and lists candidates running for each race. It also allows side by side comparisons of candidates’ information and answers to questions. I usually rely on the non-partisan League of Women Voters for voting information. The PA League of Women Voters provides comprehensive guides for state and county races as well, supplying candidates’ information, priorities and responses to questions. Other great sources of non-partisan voting info include Votes PA, The League of Young Voters and Declare Yourself. Many organizations and newspapers provide election guides endorsing candidates based on their unique values and causes, so you can look to those sources for direction on issues especially important to you.
Most importantly, please, please, please vote! As the Just Harvest voting guide states, “Politicians listen to those who vote,” and voting turnouts vary drastically according to demographics broken down by factors like economic status, gender, race and age. If you want to be heard, you have to vote. If you need any help, by all means, ask a librarian–we’ll be elated.