Patch just ran an article with good advice on where to go for Ballot Measure info, “A Nonpartisan Guide to State Ballot Measures Info.” I recently visited and tested out the recommended CaliforniaChoices.org web site, as well as Ballotpedia.org and SmartVoter.org. I can attest that the one that will let you speed through the ballot measure decision process is CaliforniaChoices.org. It presents a clean, simple page for each measure - Why Yes, Why No in just a few sentences. If you want to delve deeper you can. But if you have more time for delving, also include Ballotpedia and SmartVoter.
But when it comes to local elections 2012 - here I mean city and county level elections - the only game in town is SmartVoter.org, a website produced by the League of Women Voters. This year they released a good-looking mobile ready version called Voter411.org, but in my testing it didn't yet work for the local elections, only state and national ones. So I'm going to skip Voter411.org and point you to a tutorial of how you can use all the wonderful resources on SmartVoter.org.
But first let me point you to a couple of very local, very time-efficient, nonpartisan candidate comparison matrices. One matrix is for the four Los Altos School District Board candidates. The other is for the six Los Altos City Council Candidates. They compare candidates on up to 70 different positions or skills and are culled from listening to hours and hours of candidate forums, so that you don't have to. Yes, there are real differences among the candidates.
For all your local elections - El Camino Hospital District, Santa Clara School Board, Foothill DeAnza and more - Smartvoter.org really will help you to vote smart and not just take a wild guess. It will look up your address and return your personalized ballot of local city and special district races. For each local candidate it provides convenient links to
- A 2 minute video of the candidate’s statement
- His or her top Issues, Bio, Endorsements, Q&A
- Videos of Forums where the candidate spoke…and more.
For an in depth, step-by-step tutorial, complete with screen shots on how to get started with Smartvoter and use all its features read The 7 Minute Voting Decision – Local Elections 2012 – Web Site Review.