It’s Election Day in the USA! What Do You Need to Know to Vote? And Pass the Social Studies Test?

I just voted! Will you? As students and teachers, the candidates and issues on the ballot today impact YOU!

Want to vote, but not sure about all the candidates and issues on the ballot? Understanding how voting works is also important information on Social Studies High School Graduation or Equivalency tests (GED, TASC & HiSET).

How to Do Your Homework on Voting

I used the SamUSA Flag. Keep calm and voteple Ballot Lookup on the non-partisan website Ballotopedia. It provided information on the State and Federal level candidates.

For my local candidates and issues, I searched on Google for the name of my county and “board of elections.” My county board of elections provided a sample ballot that listed all the candidates and issues. My local newspaper had links to the campaign websites, along with more information on the issues and interviews with candidates.

In all cases, ask yourself: Do I think this person has the best solutions? Also ask if the person can be trusted to do what they say.

Quick Civics Lesson: What U.S. Citizens See on Their Ballots

  •  Executive candidates at the Federal, State, and Local levels.

These are positions like: School Board who runs education in your state; Governor who proposes the budget (including for schools!); Treasurer and Auditor, who handle taxpayer money; and Representatives and Senators who write laws in your State or U.S. Congress.

For incumbents – people currently in that job – consider what they have done. For candidates running for the job ask: What is their experience? What do they say they will do?

  •  Judges and Attorney General to serve your State or County.

If you’ve ever had to stand before a judge, you know how much power they can have.

But political party is not always important in a judge. Consider their experience as a judge or an attorney, what types of cases they have handled, and their attitude towards the people they will see in court.

  • Issues at the State or Local level.

Issues can be anything citizens think are important. Many issues are tax levies, particularly to support schools and libraries. Personally, I always vote in favor of levies for schools and libraries because that money supports many adult education programs!

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