Make Your Choices and Vote!

Inform yourself with multiple sources and "learning-focused" conversations
Fayes Vote Shoes

Although how you vote is private, you can have discussions with family and friends to make your choices. It is your official right to be able to cast a secret ballot without anyone bothering you or telling you how to vote. But listening to different sources and people can help you make up your own mind.

The Key to Community team wants you to be clear about what kinds of information you are using to make your choices. You are likely to see paid campaign ads, social media messages, TV and newspaper stories, volunteers from all kinds of campaigns.

  • Remember to ground yourself in what you care about.
  • Start with some basic nonpartisan information like the Easy Voter Guide as you then start hearing arguments for and against something
  • Be curious; ask questions.
  • Important issues have many dimensions. It takes multiple sources to develop a grasp of what has happened and the options.

Some people are tempted to pass on messages that may not be completely true. During campaign season, there are negative ads, rumors and conspiracy theories. You can tell if you are in a "learning-focused" conversation if you are expanding your understanding of the issue. If you are being asked to accept an over-simplified explanation, someone may be trying to "sell" you a point of view.

One way to combat fake news is by having real conversations with real people.

Start with Your Issues

This video is from the October 9, 2020 Key to Community workshop Voting: You and Your Community

This video shares how to ground your voting choices in the issues that matter to YOU, not just what political campaigns want you to pay attention to. Learn about how parts of the government relate to what you care about and how to get nonpartisan information to make choices about what to vote on.

Voting is not like taking a test. Instead, it's a chance to learn, grow and express yourself about what matters.

Talk through your choices

You might plan a discussion with family, friends or neighbors. In addition to the Presidential and Vice Presidential debates, see what local candidate debates are being offered in your area.

You can use the Sample Ballot sent to you by your County Elections Office as a worksheet to make notes about your choices. You can copy your final decisions onto your actual ballot.

How to make choices about candidates

  • What are their priorities? What is their experience?
  • Do they care about the same issues that you do?
  • Who supports them?

How to choose which propositions to pay attention to

  • You can start with the issues that you care about or that will affect you, your family and your community
  • You can also look at which propositions are getting the most attention; get curious:
    • Who put it on the ballot?
    • Why do they feel so strongly?

At the Voters Edge website, you can scroll down to the bottom of the page for each proposition to see who is making the largest donations for and against proposition. That information is also available for some of the candidates.

You can ask for help. It is your right!

When you actually vote, either with the ballot mailed to you or in person, you can ask for help. And you have a right to get a new ballot if you have made a mistake before you voted. You can:

  • Ask an elections official at a polling place for a new ballot,
  • Exchange your vote-by-mail ballot for a new one at an elections office or at your polling place, or
  • Vote using a provisional ballot.

Click here to see the complete Bill of Rights for voters in California. And then when you vote, be sure to take a photo with your ballot or your "I voted" sticker! We will post all of the photos you send!

Sign up for updates and more information

  • How to stay involved after the November 3 election
  • Find reliable nonpartisan information
  • Learn about the many ways to help your community