Hey there. Have you heard about a very important date coming up lately? November 8, to be exact. It is a very important day in America. It is the day citizens will vote for their choice of President of the United States.
Regardless of the vitriolic circus surrounding our current choices, a choice needs to be made. But how do you make one? While many are decided, many are not, especially in religious circles. As voting day looms ever closer, here are five ways you make an educated choice. This is not an endorsement for any candidate, but a guide for helping you find the decision you feel is best for you, your community, and your nation. It is never too late to get involved or learn more.
Determine Which Issues Matter Most to You
In an ideal world, we would all care about all the issues. We would all be knowledgeable about foreign policy, domestic affairs, educational reform, and the national debt. However, we do not live in an ideal world and many people just don’t know about our political climate. No shame! Begin to educated yourself by determining which issues matter most to you. As a young single adult, education and college debt may be of more interest than immigration or crime. As a parent, you may care more about health care laws or social issues. As a member of a military family, homeland security and national security could play a role in your day to day life.
What do you care about? What affects you? What is affecting your community? What do you believe is the most important issues facing our nation? Discovering where you stand on issues that matter to you will help you determine your alignment with current candidates.
Educate Yourself on America’s Branches of Government
If you’re like most people, the last time you really studied how the United States Government works was in school. And that could have been a very long time ago. We all have preconceived notions in our mind about what presidents, legislators, congressmen, senators ,and government departments can do. If you’re going to pick someone for a job, you should know what the job actually entails.
For those who need a reminder, there are three branches of government and a complex system of checks and balances between them. The President holds the power in the Executive Branch. You can learn all about it here, along with the other powers and responsibilities of the other branches here.
Put Some Leg Work Behind Your Research
We live in a viral world where it is hard to distinguish between fact and fiction. John Oliver said this. Tomi Lahren said that. Trump said this. Clinton said that. Or did they? You’ve seen the articles, the quotes, the bickering, the impassioned pleas. Everyone has an opinion and everyone shares it. It’s hard to keep a clear head. So put your leg work in. See a claim? Look into it. What is the source? What is the context of the situation? Read multiple sources discussing the same situation.
Study the candidates. Study what they say. Study what others say about them. Take everything with a grain of salt. Do your best to make a bottom line of facts about the issues and how the person you vote for will likely impact the issues you care about and the country as a whole.
Learn Where the Church Stands
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is neutral when it comes to party politics. It does not endorse or oppose any party, candidate, or platform. It does, however, address issues it believes “have significant community or moral consequences or that directly affect the interests of the Church.”
Someone who is religious will naturally be swayed by the tenants of their faith when it comes to politics. Your beliefs are directly tied to the issues you care about most. However, we need to be educated on exactly what the Church has said, if anything about certain issues, and always be careful not to make it seem like the Church is supporting or opposing a candidate or platform it is not. It is also important not to use faith as a weapon to manipulate or harass people into making the decisions you want them to make.
MormonNewsroom.org is the best place to go to learn more about the Church and worldwide issues.
Register to Vote!
According to voter registration statistics, only 57.5% of eligible voters participated in the 2012 presidential election. The state with the lowest voter turnout? Utah. The top reasons (excuses) for not voting? They were too busy, not interested in voting, or they did not like the candidates.
The very best thing you can do is actually vote. Learn how to register to vote in your state and make sure to do it on time. Click here to get started.