During election cycles, websites compiling candidate information serve both voters and those running. Your initial thought may be to seek voter guides that organizations like the League of Women Voters create. But that's not the only place to access candidate information. Supervisor of Elections offices may provide links to a candidate's online presence coupled with campaign finance information. Politically focused Ballotpedia and general information site Wikipedia offer a mix of campaign-provided and crowd-sourced data, which includes links to third-party sites for further research and verification. Advocacy groups, industry associations, community groups, etc. may ask candidates to respond to questions. Depending on the group, questions can vary from wide-ranging to narrowly-focused, and may be made available to the general public or only to the group's members. Consider the political agenda that a group may be advancing, especially if endorsements accompany the analysis. In addition to serving voters, online voter guides benefit candidates, making it worth the time and effort to submit biographical information and answer questions with details beyond a stock "See my campaign website" response. These sites offer a gateway to potential voters one may not have otherwise reached. But voter guides offer more than exposure to interested voters. Third party sites can help a candidate be found by search engines, provided the site is a reputable one. Search engine algorithms evaluate how sites are linked to one another, how "popular" the sites are, and more. Inclusion on other sites, especially when a link to a candidate's site is included in the write-up, can be especially beneficial to first-time candidates who may not have an established online presence. At no point should a campaign ever engage in questionable link-building / buying schemes. These tactics can be extremely detrimental to how search engines index candidate sites.
Voter Guides with Candidate Information
Searching for Voter Guides
To find relevant voter guides, include the following information as part of one's search criteria:voter guide +
- A geographic area: State, county, city
- Phase of election cycle: primary, general
- Office: Governor, mayor, etc.
- election year
- political party
Voter Guides Site Examples
This is a partial list. (Is there a quality resource missing from this list? Let me know.)
When reviewing an online voter guide, check the about page and for any statements at the bottom of web pages that state "paid for" and / or "not authorized by" language.