Time-Saving Local Voting Choice Tools for the Busy Voter

Which web sites can help you make informed choices in all your local elections without a lot of time and effort? Reviews. Get smart about SmartVoter.org with a quick tutorial.

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.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Jeff F October 26, 2012 at 03:44 AM
"But first let me point you to a couple of very local, very time-efficient, nonpartisan candidate comparison matrices." And this is nonpartisan how? Norma, all you did was just link to your own site, losaltospolitico, where you are the sole author & editor. Everything on there is heavily biased to your opinion!
Andy R October 26, 2012 at 04:10 AM
The "couple of very local, very time-efficient, nonpartisan candidate comparison matrices" that Norma mentions are no her site, written by her. Not identifying them as such here calls into question her credibility about everything she has written.
Andy R October 26, 2012 at 04:12 AM
Oops ... that should read "are on her site".
jolie October 26, 2012 at 08:34 PM
C'mon Patch - you can do better than this junk!
GG October 26, 2012 at 10:42 PM
Just read the content on Norma's Politico site. Talk about biased and inflammatory! Not fair, nor balanced. Completely against anything LASD. Almost as bad as that bullischarterscam.org site on the other end.


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