Stephanie Hallett
October 28, 2016 10:10 am
Ariel Skelley / Getty Images

The nation will head to the polls in less than two weeks (OMG!), which means it’s time to think carefully about the key issues of the 2016 election. And while it’s looking like Hillary Clinton is likely to become president, there are also local races to consider — and state ballot measures, too! To put it simply: Voting is seriously important right now.

So to help you get yourself sorted, we put together this handy list of issues to think about before you cast your ballot.

First things first…

What kind of person do you want to see leading the country?

This is more of a philosophical question, but it should be a key part of a healthy voting diet. Though we might not always think they do, politicians are supposed to stand for something — and the people we vote for should be the type of leaders who set a good example of what it means to be a decent human being.

So in every race — whether it’s for the presidency, a governorship, or a seat in the House or Senate — think first about the character of the elected officials you want to see in office.

MTV / giphy.com

What are the big policy issues that are important to you, and where do the candidates stand?

A July report from the Pew Research Center found that the top two election issues influencing voters in 2016 are the economy and terrorism. Overall, 84% of registered voters cited the economy as a critical issue, and 80% said the same about terrorism. Other issues at the top of voters’ minds include: foreign policy, health care, gun policy, and immigration.

There are also seriously influential issues such as abortion, LGBTQ rights, climate change and the environment, the empty Supreme Court seat, and how racial and ethnic minorities are treated.

Rock the Vote / giphy.com

Do a quick exercise with yourself: Think about which of those issues are most important to you — you can even make a ranked list — then click here to see where the presidential candidates stand. The more informed you are about each of the candidates’ positions, the better prepared you’ll be to make this huge decision.

Do you know who’s running for the House and Senate in your state? Where do they stand on your key issues?

It won’t just be Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on your ballot come November 8th! There are tons of Senate and House races going on across the country, and your vote really counts in those elections.

This website will help you figure out if there are Senate or House seats up for grabs in your state, and whose names will be on your ballot. To help you make your final decision, use the “important issues checklist” you just created and measure the candidates against your list of priorities using the platforms outlined on their websites.

Is your state voting in a new governor?

Twelve states will vote in a new governor on November 8th — Indiana, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Vermont, West Virginia, Delaware, North Dakota, Oregon, Utah, and Washington. Use your personalized issues guide to figure out who’s running and what they stand for.

Which ballot measures will you have to consider on Election Day? Where do you stand?

This year, voters in 35 states will consider a total of 162 ballot measures. There are 17 measures on the California ballot alone! Everything from marijuana legalization to the death penalty is up for consideration, so head to this website to enter your address and find out which issues are up for a vote in your state.

We know there are a ton of things to consider this election — and it’s already been so exhausting! — but your vote will shape the future of this country, and we think that’s a responsibility worth preparing for.

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