Hanging chads. Duped electorates. Voter fraud. Voting is rarely clean or pretty, but it is still the final word on government and the most important tool of citizens in a democracy.
Unfortunately, even as we head to the polls, we don't always know which candidate to trust or where we really stand on an issue. The guy in the booth next to yours might punch through the items like he's at a firing range, while you're scrambling to make sense of the notes you wrote to yourself -- and leaving some blanks to boot. Maybe you skip voting altogether, figuring that abstaining is better than casting a ballot in ignorance.
There is simply no easy way to become an informed voter. It involves a steady diet of news and maybe a crash course in economics. You may even have to dust off that old civics textbook from high school or start making phone calls to get help from your local representative.
For many of us, the road to the polls can be a quietly painful process. But it doesn't have to be.
KCET created "Ballot Brief" to be your starting point for all things electoral (and maybe help alleviate some of the pain of going to the polls). Here you'll find helpful explainers breaking down some of the common and even the more esoteric features of government and elections law (why, for instance, do we vote for judges?). We'll also track the headlines relating to upcoming elections, taking extra time to put them in context (why, for instance, politicians can and do sue each other over their job descriptions).
We also want you to be part of the process. Got a question about politics, voting, or an upcoming election? Send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and we might even create a new "Explainer" to answer it.
Let "Ballot Brief" be your guide to voting. Start here. Get informed. Your vote counts.