Whether you’re looking for unbiased information on candidates or the ins and outs of Michigan’s ballot proposals, these nonpartisan organizations can help you make your best choice for your 2020 vote.
LANSING, MI—As Michiganders embrace the right to safely vote by mail or absentee ahead of the Nov. 3 Election Day, researching their ballots has never been easier.
This year Michiganders have been voting from their couches and from their kitchen tables. And they’re saying it’s given them more time to get to know the candidates and find the most accurate information about who and what they are voting for—especially in smaller races.
“I think in previous elections I would vote confidently on the more widely known things like president [or] governor,” Tyler Haney, of Warren, told The ‘Gander. “The more local things always felt very unknown usually.”
Skipping a vote on lesser-known races leads to a problem called “ballot roll-off” where voters tend to leave the more local or specialized races blank. Or, voting based purely on a candidate’s name.
This is because a lot of voters like Haney don’t have knowledge about candidates in smaller, more local races. For Haney and other Michiganders like him, mail-in voting provided an opportunity to address that lack of information that often contributes to that roll-off.
There was time to do the research.
Knowing which credible sources to do research through, however, is a key step to avoiding rampant election misinformation.
We’ve rounded up some of the most-trusted and accurate resources for researching your Michigan ballot:
Michigan’s online Voter Information Center houses everything from registration materials to ballot details.
The “What’s on the ballot” section of the website can show the specific proposals and candidates that will be listed on your Michigan ballot. The site is hosted on Michigan.gov, the official website for the State of Michigan government.
The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to disseminating information that doesn’t endorse or oppose any particular candidate.
Its Michigan arm focuses on gathering and sharing information about statewide and local elections like videos from the candidates and school board election information.
The group’s voter guide can be viewed online at VOTE411.com.
The Citizens Research Council of Michigan is a privately-funded nonprofit dedicated to finding “factual, unbiased, independent information on significant issues. ” It’s been around for more than 100 years and the group’s current research page lists statewide and local ballot proposals in detail, so voters can make informed decisions about things like Michigan’s Natural Resources Trust Fund proposal.
The Ginsberg Center is U-M’s community and civic engagement center. Voters can find resources on its Issues Exploration page including tips for spotting fake news, instructions for properly marking your ballot, and understanding ballot measure details.
Ballotpedia considers itself to be the “encyclopedia of American politics.” The website houses election information from across the country, sourced from the nonpartisan nonprofits employees.
As a national publication, complete local details are not always available. When they are, the site provides a list of the candidates’ names, their campaign website addresses, photo, salary, and voting history while in office.