How to Choose a Candidate: 2016 Election Edition


Hi guys. It’s Petrina and I’m gonna do something
a little bit different this week. I’m gonna get a little political. No worries. I’m not gonna get all partisanship
crazy or at least I’ll try not to and I know we’re early into the season, but you’ve probably
already just been driven nuts by news coverage and one of the big reasons why I wanted to
make this video is because of the news coverage and main stream media and beg you to become
informed voters and I’m gonna give you some really easy, simple steps to do that so that
you can not only know who the candidates are, but more importantly know what they stand
for. And I’m not just talking about the guy with
the funny orange hair or the lady with the penchant for pantsuits because it’s not just
the presidency that’s up for grabs this year folks. There are going to be 34 senate seats
up for grabs and all 435 seats in the House of Representatives are also up for grabs and
it’s not just the feds. Depending on which state you live in, it may be time to elect
a governor, maybe your city mayor and of course the state legislator spots. If you want to
get really geeky, you can even research for comptroller. What the heck is a comptroller
anyway? I’m going to take you on a whirlwind internet
mystery tour that’s gonna simply the process of becoming an informed voter for you. The
only two things I ask is that you 1) keep an open mind and 2) maybe even be willing
to think outside your political party box and put your focus on the issues and not whether
or not a particular candidate is a donkey or an elephant. Are we cool? Okay, I’m gonna show you how you can do this
on your computer. I’m gonna put links in the description below so be sure to use those
to get yourself started. Let me take you in my computer and show you how you can do this.
Alright, once you’re on your computer and I recommend doing this on a desk top just
because it’s gonna make it a lot easier for you to read the information. You are gonna
type in www.house.gov/htbin/findrep into your browser. This is gonna bring you to the house
site where you simply enter your zip code to find which congressional district you’re
in and if you’re in an area that is split, and this can happen as you can see with my
home, there’s two different districts that are represented by that zip code. Now in order
to pin it down, you can enter your street address or your zip once more. I already know
that I am in district 2, but as soon as you figure out which district you’re in, write
it down and move on to the next site. We know that we are in district 2. Next you are going to www.uselections.com/uselections
and this will get you to the election info by state page and what you’re going to do
is you’re going to click on the state that you live in and it will tell you a lot of
goody goody gumdrops information about voting, such as when the primaries are, the congressional
primaries. If there’s gonna be a runoff, when that would be. Poll opening and closing times,
what the eligibility and ID requirements are and then of course when you scroll down, you’ll
see which positions are open in 2016. For example, certain states I think I looked into
in NY as well for preparing to do a demo on this and it said that their next state constitutional
officer elections wouldn’t be until 2018. So you’ll be able to see that. You’ll be able
to see what’s up for grabs and the candidates will be in these green boxes. If you want
to know how they stand on certain issues, write down their names. You’re gonna be using
it for the next step in the process. You’ll see there are a lot of different positions
in my area that are up for grabs this year. And as you’ll see too when you scroll down
to see House of Representatives, you’ll see everything is broken down by district in your
particular state so you’re gonna need that number. I know my number is number 2. So I’ll go to the district 2 and you’ll see
that Renee is running I believe. If someone is not running or is not retiring from office
it will say that underneath that information, but it doesn’t say that she’s retiring from
office. We know that she is running as an incumbent for that race and then you’ll see
her challengers here. There is a seven party race. As you’ll see too, if they’re Republican
candidates you’ll know that’s going to count in a primary election when there is going
to be one held. So you’ll see that Renee is gonna have to challenge Greg and Mr. Holding.
Once you know all the names of the different candidates that you want to look into and
see where they stand on certain issues, you are gonna go to and this is a really awesome
way to figure this out, it’s votesmart.org and from there you’ll see that there are these
little file folders of different information. What you’re gonna do is enter the politician’s
name and for this demonstration I’m going to enter Renee Ellmer’s and when you type
it in, it will come up and you’ll see because sometimes if there is someone running who
has a very common name like George Smith or something like that, there’s probably gonna
be different George Smiths running for different offices all throughout the country. Renee’s
got an unusual and unique name so she’s pretty easy to know. We’re gonna pick her incumbent
and then you can scroll through all of these different files to learn more about each of
those candidates. The first is the bio and this is basically
a little bit of bio information about them. Where do they live, are they affiliated with
a certain religion, where did they go to school, what’s their political experience, what committees
have they served on if they have actually been in office for awhile, what did they do
before becoming a senator or congressman or whatever office that they’re filling, if they
have certain religious and other civic relationships and if they provide other information, which
I think Renee has done, we will see there. On the side you will see all of her contact
information, her email, her websites, the social media, different addresses you can
send her mail to. The next folder is votes and this if you are
looking at a candidate who hasn’t been in office, of course they haven’t had an opportunity
to vote for anything so you’re not gonna learn any information anyway. If it is for someone
who is an incumbent, you’ll see what their voting record is. Now I will say this is not
very revealing in any way just because as you’ll see the Bill names are kind of like
you’re not really sure what it’s about. You don’t know what’s in a Bill and there could
be a bunch of stuff in there and just looking at the name is not going to tell you how they
stand on particular issues. You could maybe take a guess, but I want to do better than
guesses when it comes to casting my ballot at the ballot box and two, if they’ve been
in office for awhile, there’s gonna be a ton of votes. So if you research each of these
Bills, that could take you hours and hours and hours and who has got time for that? I
know I don’t. So votes I would say don’t pay too much attention to. Positions is where you’ll find really great
and revealing information. Now as you’ll see, she’s got these little grayed out little circles
and when you scroll down you’ll see that’s because they’ve had to infer her position
on all of these big issues. She has not submitted what they call a political courage test. She
hasn’t sent in her answers to them so what they’ve done is they’ve gone and looked at
her voting record, her public statements and how she’s been evaluated from different special
interest groups to determine what they think her position on issues are. You know, the
way political candidate has voted and you know what speeches they’ve given and what
ratings they’ve gotten from special interest groups can be a really solid way of figuring
out their positions can be and what you do to see what her inferred positions are in
this case is just you know click on that little ellipses in brackets and it will put those
statements out and what her ratings are by special interest groups to help you determine
what exactly her position is on that particular issue. In my personal opinion, I love it when
candidates will fill out that political courage test and you can see what their stance is
in their own words. They’re admitting to it. They’re standing where they stand basically
and showing you where they stand. I think a lot of times when you’re dealing with incumbent
candidates, they’re probably not going to take the time to fill those out because they
probably feel that their record stands for itself, but with challenging candidates or
new people on the political scene, they’ll take the time to fill this out and it can
be very illuminating. Ratings is where you will see if your candidate
has been favorably or unfavorably rated by certain special interest groups. The higher
the rating, the better that group likes that particular candidate and of course on the
opposite end, the lower the rating, the lower these special interest groups approve of that
candidate. You can see here at a glance that Planned Parenthood doesn’t like her. National
Rights to Life loves her. She’s got 100%. The next bucket is speeches and that is if
the candidate has given any sort of speech or given any public statement or a letter,
you can go down and see and again with Renee since she’s been in office there are 16 pages
of different speeches so this is something that could be incredibly time consuming if
you opt to do it. So I’d say you know unless it’s like a one pager and there’s just a couple
of things, I probably wouldn’t bother delving deep into these speeches. The last and maybe some would say most telling
bucket is funding and especially if you’re dealing with somebody who is an incumbent
or someone who is backed and established, you’re going to see exactly who is funding
their campaigns. There will be a list of what their top contributors are and which industries
and sectors she is most notably has profited from as far as campaign contributions and
that can tell too where a candidate is probably going to stand on certain issues because as
they say, money talks people. So that’s it about votesmart. It is a remarkable
site. If you really want to know about your candidates, you should really use this site
before you head to the polls. So there we go. I hope I didn’t make your
brain hurt too bad. I feel it can be a little bit overwhelming at first, especially if you’re
living in a district where you have like a dozen different candidates, but it is worth
the time and it’s something that I vow to do better in. I know I’ve been in the ballot
box looking at the ballot and not knowing one candidate from the other and you know,
it’s kind of hard to be an informed voter. It takes time and it takes some effort, but
I think with these three sites it does make it a world easier and I know I’m going to
take advantage of them before I set foot in the polls in November. I think they could
be a really good tool early on too when you do keep an open mind. Let’s say you read somebody’s
political courage test and you’re just blown away and find that they aligned with you on
like 90% of the big issues. You think that they sound like a really decent human being.
It’s then early on in the process that not only can you decide to vote for that person,
but maybe you’ll even want to volunteer for their campaign or even donate a little bit
of money. It’s easy to be apathetic when it comes to
the political process. It’s easy to say that your vote won’t make a difference and it’s
easy to show up and just mark off little bubbles based on whatever party you’re in or somebody
has a cool name. I don’t want you to go easy this year. I think there’s a lot of discontentment
brewing as you can see how primaries are lining up. If you’re feeling discontented and you
want things to change, not only do you need to just show up and vote, you need to take
the time and learn about the candidates and where they stand on the issues you care most
about before you fill in that little bubble. Don’t just focus on the presidency. Focus
on the positions that are probably gonna have more of a direct impact on your life. Focus
on congress, the people who run your state or town. So get on your computer, research
your folks and maybe become even more involved and donate or volunteer for a campaign. I
triple dog dare you! That’s as political as I’m ever gonna get on this channel I promise. See, that wasn’t so painful. I didn’t even
rant about [censored], #winning! That’s it for this one guys. Take care. Have a great
week and research the crap out of candidates running for office in 2016. Out! Bye!

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