Ask the Expert: How to Be an Informed Voter

Posted Oct 31, 2022

Election Day 2022 is just a week away on Tuesday, Nov. 8. From voter registration drives to non-partisan coffee talks, Otterbein students and staff support voter engagement in many ways.

Assistant Professor Nick Robinson, Department of History and Political Science, is new to campus and ready to commit to the effort. Here are his tips for being an informed voter:

Tip 1: Don’t just vote with your gut. Take time to develop an informed judgment on the most significant issues being debated. Know where each candidate stands, and also know the effects of those policies on not just yourself, but on everyone.

Tip 2: Avoid getting all your news from social media. Cross-check your sources! Social media algorithms are designed to echo your pre-existing views. Take advantage of Otterbein’s access to a range of local and national newspapers.

Tip 3: Don’t just focus on national races. There are roughly 90,000 official governments in the United States. Decisions made at the state and local levels have a much more direct effect on your daily life than the president.

Tip 4: Don’t be caught off guard. Use Ballotpedia to see a sample of what your ballot will look like beforehand. The more familiar you are with what the ballot looks like, the more comfortable you’ll feel filling it out.

Tip 5: Prepare for the unexpected. The act of voting may only take a few minutes but be sure to give yourself about 30 minutes while heading to the polls to anticipate unforeseen circumstances.