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How to Decide: A Guide for Undecided Voters
By Amelia Hamilton on October 31, 2012
With less than a week to go until Election Day, there are voters who have yet to decide which candidate will earn his or her vote. This is not only for state and local races, but right up to the Presidential race, in which 5% of Americans who plan to vote still have yet to decide. There are various reasons which voters remain undecided so late in the game, but there are ways to overcome all of these obstacles.
One of the main reasons for a voter to remain undecided is that they don’t feel comfortable supporting either political party. Some identify loosely with one party, and others are independents who take each race as it comes. Some have the opposite problem. They normally vote with one party, but find themselves disagreeing with the candidate being run by that party. They may need to talk themselves into voting for a candidate in another party. In these cases, voters need to determine which candidate is most likely to make decisions which align with their beliefs.
Sometimes, voters find themselves conflicted by a certain issue. They identify almost completely with one candidate, but there seems to be that one important issue which aligns the other candidate’s values. In this case, the voter should ask which candidate is more likely to effect the most change which is most important to him or her. This could take some tough prioritization or harsh truths about a candidate’s ability to get things done.
Some undecided voters really just don’t know enough about the candidates to make a decision. These are usually voters who are not politically engaged on a regular basis. They want to make the best decision for themselves and their families, but need to do further research on candidates. Again, there will likely be positions with which they identify in multiple candidates, and will need to determine which will foster the best situation for their needs.
On the other hand, some voters feel they know too much! They don’t particularly trust the candidates or know which is genuine. Undecided voters might not have faith in any candidate to do what they would like to see done. The only recourse for this is research. There will never be a perfect candidate, so voters need to research to find their best fit. Which candidate has a voting record that best aligns with your beliefs? Which has the better record of doing what he or she promises? Which is more likely to listen to his or her constituents? It takes work to uncover all of this, but it comes along with the privilege of voting.
It can be daunting to undertake the research and prioritization needed to select a candidate. It is also important to understand that your chosen candidate might not have the power to effect the change you would like to see from him or her. Any candidate could end up with their hands tied. It is up to each and every voter to research the issues and candidates to make an educated vote. Undecided voters have six days left to make their decisions and take part in the electoral process. It’s daunting, but it’s worth it.