Vote Smarter!

In less than a month our country will elect the next president. Will President Obama win a second term or will Mitt Romney become the 45th President of the United States? If you want to play a part in answering that question, then you need to make sure you’re registered to vote on Tuesday, November 6. You can do so by visiting your county clerk’s website (Cook County, Will County) and checking to see if you’re registered, and then filling out the proper paperwork if you aren’t.

If you’re having trouble cutting through the campaign ads to decide who to vote for, check out this video from our database Films on Demand. Moyers & Company‘s “Decoding the Campaigns” was produced before Mitt Romney was chosen as the Republican candidate, but still has some great tips for looking into the truths behind campaign ads.

In the video, Moyers speaks with Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of, which is a great website for cutting through the hype of political ads and the overblown speeches of candidates. FactCheck looks at recent campaign ads, speeches, and debate performances and explains the numbers and facts behind candidates’ claim.

Another great website is Project Vote Smart, where you can quickly learn which Presidential candidate agrees with you on important issues by using their Vote Easy tool (displayed on the homepage or under the Elections & Candidates tab). You can also learn about other races in your area just by entering your zip code. All candidates have basic biographical information and contact information for their campaigns. They also collect news articles, press releases, interest group ratings, and campaign finance information, when available, for all candidates. Incumbents’ voting records and committee assignments are also included, so this is a great one-stop voting information website.

And finally, the Prairie State Library has a really great series of books. The Very Short Introduction Series covers a wide range of topics, but there are a few titles especially suited for this election season. Just like the series title suggests, these books are a quick and easy way to get the main ideas behind a major topic such as The American Presidency or The U.S. Congress.

Whatever your political affiliation, I hope you take the time to look into which candidates fit your views and vote in the Presidential Election on Tuesday, November 6!


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