It’s time for everyone’s favorite time of the year — Halloweeen! But then, also, Election Day! On November 4th of this year, you won’t get to vote on a new President, but you will get to help make crucial decisions about who your state and local representatives and officials are, which is something that might affect your life even more than who’s in the White House. We’ve talked before about how important local elections are, so put your ballot where your mouth is and get to the polls! Here, we’ve even compiled some information to help you decide how to vote.
This isn’t a comprehensive voting guide for every state in the union, unfortunately — we’re working with the information our team has, usually about their own local elections. If you don’t see your location listed here, please feel free to add any information about it in the comments for the edification of others. If you have questions about voting procedures, voter ID laws, ballot measures or candidates, try asking! Even if we can’t help answer them, maybe someone else can!
Colorado’s Amendment 67 would amend the state criminal code to extend personhood to unborn human beings – beginning at the moment of conception. Although Colorado voters have twice overwhelmingly rejected similar measures, they are once again being asked to vote on a dangerous, sweeping, anti-abortion measure this fall.
Amendment 67 is a “trigger law,” meaning that its full impact will only be felt if and once Roe v. Wade is overturned, in which case it would make all abortion illegal in the state – as well as certain popular forms of birth control, care for women with critical illnesses such as cancer, and in vitro fertilization. Amendment 67, like the personhood measures before it, goes too far.
Michelle Nunn vs. David Perdue
Fun fact: The first woman to serve as a U.S. Senator was from Georgia! Fun fact redux: She served 24 symbolic hours in 1922 and was then replaced by a white dude. Georgia voters haven’t voted a woman into the office since then, but all that could change this year. Democrat Michelle Nunn, who was written off by most pundits almost as soon as she declared her candidacy, has closed the gap on Republican David Perdue in the final days of the Senate campaign. The New York Times thinks she might just pull down an outright victory. And Washington Post says she’s holding strong to a 55 percent chance of winning.
That’s good news, but not as good as it could be. Nunn has waffled on marriage equality, saying most recently that she supports the Supreme Court’s decision to leave it to the states. “I also believe that marriage is not only a legal construct, but a sacrament, and every religious institution has to be able to define it for themselves,” she told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. She has refused to speak with any LGBT media to clarify her positions, which led Georgia Voice, the state’s gay newspaper, to refuse to endorse her.
Georgia Attorney General Election: Sam Olens vs. Greg Hecht
The biggest LGBT deal in Georgia’s midterm election is the Attorney General race. Incumbent Sam Olens has said repeatedly that he will continue to defend Georgia’s same-sex marriage ban because it is her personal belief that opposite-sex marriage is the best thing for society and the best thing for kids. Democrat Greg Hecht thinks that’s bullshit and has promised to stop defending Georgia’s marriage equality ban the second he gets into office and work on actually protecting children by prosecuting child abuse cases. In a debate at the Atlanta Press Club, Hecht held nothing back: “What we should be doing is fundamentally protecting citizens in need, such as the 400 children who passed away between 2011 and 2013 when that man (Olens) was wasting time on unconstitutional laws.”
As of right now, Olens is leading in the polls by around 4 percent.
Gubernatorial Race and Women’s Equality Party
The first thing you might notice on your ballot, come November 4th, is this newfangled thing called the Women’s Equality Party (whose website, at the time of writing, appears to be under construction). Sounds dope! You’ll probably also notice that most of the candidates running under the Women’s Equality line are men. I see your eyebrows raised. Keep them there. Incumbent Governor Andrew Cuomo and his running mate Katherine Hochul are running under not one, but four different party lines: Democratic, Working Families, Independent and Women’s Equality.
New York has a funky little thing called fusion voting, which is when two or more political parties list one candidate on the same ballot, and all of the votes for that candidate are pooled. These endorsements from smaller and independent political parties can help candidates get elected while assuring voters that candidates are committed to causes more aligned with their political beliefs. In this case, Governor Cuomo accepted an endorsement from the labor-driven Working Families Party [WFP], a party that already supports the Women’s Equality Act, a ten-point plan for closing the wage gap and ending gender discrimination in New York State.
But in a confusing turn of events, Governor Cuomo presented himself as the poster-child for the brand new Women’s Equality Party [WEP]. The Working Families Party was miffed, calling the move unnecessary. WFP co-chair Karen Scharff said, “Women are actually the vast majority of voters in New York State, and I don’t think we should be pigeonholed in a separate party… It’s great to have a women’s equality campaign message, but what actually matters to New Yorkers is passing a Women’s Equality Act. The only way that passes is if we elect a Democrat-Working Families majority to the state Senate.”
Why should you care? When it comes down to it, it doesn’t really matter because it’s the same dude running for office, but he seems to be exploiting the women’s equality thing for his own benefit, and weakening the WFP, which has a successful progressive, pro-labor history. It just seems kinda sketch. To stay on the ballot, the Working Families Party needs 50,000 people to vote under its party line. If many of its potential voters are women (likely), then Cuomo’s little charade will do major damage. Running against Cuomo/Hochul is Republican Rob Astorino and his running mate Chris Moss, two pro-life white male Republicans. So, I’ll just leave it at that.
The Attorney General is the chief legal officer of the State of New York, and the head of the Department of Law. This person gets the bad guys. Our last two Attorney Generals were subsequently elected Governor, so like, it’s important. Our current Attorney General is Democrat and former state Senator Eric Schneiderman. He’s a big anti-corruption guy who told Donald Trump to take a hike and filed a lawsuit against companies who “astroturf” — write fake online reviews for themselves. He also pushed for fraud settlements with big banks involved in illegal foreclosures. Word on the street is Schneiderman supports the Women’s Equality Act, and has issued subpoenas against anti-choice “Crisis Pregnancy Centers” masquerading as health clinics without employing any licensed physicians or nurses.
Running against Schneiderman are Republican John Cahill, Libertarian Carl E. Person (y’know, just your plain ol’ average human who is totally a person and not a robot), and Ramon Jiminez of the Green Party. Cahill wants to beef up drug laws, and just released a five-point plan to go after heroin trafficking in New York. He has also been criticized by Democrats and Women’s groups for being “anti-choice”, though representatives for Cahill have denied this accusation. Person is a lawyer who ran for mayor last year. But for real, that’s all I can find about this guy. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad having a sentient robot run our justice system, but again, this man is definitely a person and not a robot. Jiminez is a lawyer and community activist from the Bronx. He is concerned with corruption, white-collar crime, and “corporate welfare,” but is also running on a platform to end Stop-and-Frisk, and abolish solitary confinement. However, there isn’t much about him in the media. Unsurprisingly, this is pretty much a race between Schneiderman and Cahill.
Supreme and Civil Court Justices
In New York State we also elect NY Supreme and Civil Court Justices. This is controversial because they are supposed to be unbiased, fair and balanced. A popular vote could result in the election of some pretty biased folks. Depending on where you live, your ballot is going to look significantly different than your friend across town. One or more political party endorses each judicial candidate, so your best bet is to vote for the judges who belong to the party closest to your heart.
Congressional and Senate Seats
There are also some Congressional and Senate seats open. Use this list from the Feminist Majority PAC to help guide your decision come November 4th. If you don’t see any of your candidates on this list, you might find information about your representatives at Emily’s List. Both FMPAC and Emily’s List endorse candidates who have a record of being progressive and pro-choice.
You can use the same guidelines when researching your State Senators and Assemblypersons. So basically, the State Senate and Assembly are our statewide of Congress. In New York, we are trying to get the Women’s Equality Act passed, and electing candidates who support this kind of legislature means putting more influential feminists closer to the top. For more in-depth information on pro-LGBTQ candidates in your area, you can refer to the handy-dandy candidate guide put out by PrideAgenda.org who also has tips for trans voters. If you want to know who your candidates are, most cities and towns have made sample ballots available to voters. You can also input your information at Voter411.org to get everything from poll-site information to the candidates on your ballot.
Proposal Number 1, an Amendment: Revising State’s Redistricting Procedure
This controversial ballot measure seeks to create a redistricting commission. Currently, state legislators have full reign of redistricting decisions, which have historically been drawn along racial (read: racist) lines. Last year, the Supreme Court struck down a core component of the Voting Rights Act, which sought to oversee redistricting procedures in states and counties with racist district-drawing habits. The media portrayed this problem as a primarily Southern issue, because, y’know… But according to the New York Times, it also affected “scores of counties and municipalities in other states, including Brooklyn, Manhattan and the Bronx.” Now that our legislators are trying to right this wrong, we have every reason to be skeptical of their motives. Proponents of the measure say it will create a more partisan decision-making process by changing “the way state legislative and congressional districts are drawn after every census, a process that traditionally has been meticulously, if sometimes awkwardly, designed to favor incumbents.”
Proposal 1 would establish a 10-member commission, with two members appointed by each of the four legislative leaders. Those eight individuals would, in turn, name two more members, neither of whom could be an enrolled Democrat or Republican.
After holding 12 hearings, the commission would submit a plan. If the Legislature rejects that plan twice, it could then amend it as it saw fit.
Sounds great on paper. Incumbent Gov. Cuomo supports the measure alongside the League of Women Voters of New York. However, detractors of the measure say it doesn’t effectively do what it sets out to, and that it closes the opportunity for more independent legislation to pass. Susan Lerner of Common Cause New York has this to say:
There is a set of voting rules that is dependent on who is in the majority of either house. And the criteria for redistricting are deliberately structured so they can do anything they want to with the maps and not provide guidance for the courts. They don’t have to consciously discriminate. They can just ‘respect the cores of existing districts’… We have time between now and 2022 to set up a good system through statute or a constitutional amendment. If we settle for the crumbs that the Legislature is willing to give us, then we don’t actually get reform.
Opponents believe this is hastily developed piece of legislature that would not only benefit whichever party holds the majority, but also close the door on more thorough and bipartisan options.
Proposal Number 2, an Amendment: Permitting Electronic Distribution of State Legislative Bills
This is a ballot measure that would allow state legislators to look at bills on their iPads. Unless you’re a single-issue voter whose cause is to forestall the destruction of print media, I’d say this is a no-brainer. The future is now.
Proposal Number 3, a Proposition: The SMART SCHOOLS BOND ACT OF 2014
This measure seeks to authorize “the sale of state bonds of up to two billion dollars to provide access to classroom technology and high-speed internet connectivity to equalize opportunities for children to learn, to add classroom space to expand high-quality pre-kindergarten programs, to replace classroom trailers with permanent instructional space, and to install high-tech smart security features in schools.” Liberals are pretty much on-board with bringing schools into the 21st century, and ending the practice of teaching over-crowded schools in off-site trailers. However, some conservatives who are against the Common Core curriculum say that this two-billion dollars is the nail in the coffin, making Common Core a tenet of our education system. Fordham Political Science Professor Nicholas Tampio has said this:
New York is currently preparing to administer the Common Core-based PARCC tests. As part of the Race to the Top application, New York committed to administering the tests to students at the same time on computers… This bond helps cement the Common Core in New York schools. The technology makes possible the Common Core tests, and the smart schools review board is made up of three individuals who support the Common Core.
The Smart Schools Bond Act also consumes resources that could be spent on other educational endeavors. Take class size. There is an extensive literature on how smaller classes leads to higher test scores, better grades, fewer discipline problems, higher graduation rates, and the formation of character traits such as persistence, motivation, and self-esteem… As a parent, I would rather my children have a personal connection with a great teacher than be warehoused in a classroom dedicated to preparing for online Common Core-based tests.
Indeed, plenty of people have come out against Common Core education system. While some conservatives are running for office under the StopCommonCore Party ticket, many liberals, parents, and teachers alike feel that Common Core is damaging the education system. Common Core is a system that relies heavily on standardized testing, and which places undue stress on teachers and schools who are rushing to implement a brand-new, untested system on students who may or may not benefit from it. NPR has developed an in-depth Common Core FAQ for anybody who would like more information on the pros and cons of this new system.
Alright, brass tacks: True, this ballot measure could potentially fix a lot of concrete things wrong in the education system like giving kids computers and putting them in real classrooms. But, while this ballot measure is not technically about Common Core, a lot of people think its a trick to get money for an education system that doesn’t cut it. My anonymous source, who is a special education teacher in an underfunded inner-city school says he would vote “no” to this measure, and wait for the money to come without such sinister attachments. (Okay, the source is my dad).
Measure 1 in North Dakota is a deceptively-worded personhood amendment that’s even farther-reaching than that of Colorado’s Amendment 67. Measure 1 would grant an “inalienable right to life” to the unborn beginning at the moment of conception, and it would do so by amending the state constitution. It’s vague language, however, also opens the door for outlawing birth control, IVF, and all forms of abortion in the case of Roe v. Wade being overturned.
Oregon Education Opportunity Initiative, Measure 86
LGBT youth face disproportionate barriers to higher education and academic attainment and this will help level the playing field. It creates a Student Opportunity Fund within the constitution and authorizes the state to issue bonds for the fund. Monies would be used for need-based student aid and incentives for vocational training programs. $100 million in the fund is anticipated to revenue stream of $5 million each year for Oregon student assistance.
Oregon Alternative Driver Licenses Referendum, Measure 88
A way to ensure that folks behind the wheel passed safety examinations makes everyone safer no matter your green card status. Don’t have or just plain don’t want to show your documents to prove you can drive? You don’t have to be an immigrant to want one. Maybe you don’t have your birth certificate or don’t want to show it off at the DMV. Why is driving conflated with identification anyway? No one should fear arrest or entry into the system for following the rules of the road.
Oregon Equal Rights for Women Initiative, Measure 89
“Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the State of Oregon or by any political subdivision in this state on account of sex.”
Debate about whether equal rights for women already exist in Oregon’s Constitution notwithstanding this is one of those obvious ones. And yet, ERAs often don’t exist where we thought they passed decades ago. Let’s not let Oregon be one of those places. This explicit ban on sex discrimination gives more weight to women fighting employment, wage, benefit, or educational discrimination, or women seeking protection against violence.
Oregon Legalized Marijuana Initiative, Measure 91
Another way in which minorities disproportionately find their way into the system are minor drug offenses such as marijuana possession (although this is de-prioritized in the Portland area that is hardly comforting). And though estimates vary, not only will our jails be less full, our school coffers will have more, up to $40 million more, with some of this weed sales tax going to substance abuse treatment and state and local police. And while oversight by Oregon’s oh-so-beloved OLCC may not be the most exciting part of the measure, certainly some oversight is necessary and a welcome change from lumping marijuana in with other Schedule I narcotics (such as heroin) it currently shares space with under federal law.
Oregon Mandatory Labeling of GMOs Initiative, Measure 92
We all have a right to not only govern our bodies but know what is going into them. Holding companies accountable for revealing the practices that govern their agriculture and food production sets an important precedent that consumers need to have information in order to make healthy food choices for ourselves and our families.
For a full list of endorsements by local LGBT rights organization Basic Rights Oregon check out their Oregon Equality PAC 2014.
While there aren’t any huge ballot proposals, and it’s unlikely that the GOP control of both houses of the state legislature is going to change, there’s still an opportunity to make a serious shift in Michigan LGBTQ policy as wins for pro-queer candidates for Governor, Attorney General, and Michigan’s Senate seat are all within grasp.
Incumbent Republican governor Rick Snyder has shown little in the way of interest in supporting the LGBTQ community in Michigan. Michigan remains a state without any employment or housing protections for sexual orientation or gender identity, and without a hate-crimes law that includes language on sexual orientation and gender identity. While Snyder has made vague overture on both matters, he failed to press the legislature for action when bills on both issue made it to the floor (both matters failed to come to a final vote). Snyder and his administration continue to defend Michigan’s ban on gay marriage in Federal court, and he refused to recognize the marriages of the over 300 couples who married during the one day window in which gay marriage was legal in Michigan. Democratic challenger Mark Schauer has come out in strong support of all of these measures and became the first gubernatorial candidate to appear at Michigan Pride’s Rally On The Capitol Steps, joined by his running mate Lisa Brown. Brown was one of four Michigan county clerks who ordered their offices open on a Saturday to issue marriage licenses during Michigan’s one-day gay marriage window. As a state legislator, Brown was barred from speaking for using the word “vagina” when opposing an oppressive abortion bill, and performed The Vagina Monologues on the Capitol steps the next day in protest.
Current Republican Attorney-General Bill Schuette continues to defend Michigan’s gay marriage ban in federal appeals court, and claims the state has an interest in “regulating sexual relationships”. Democratic challenger Mark Totten has strongly opposed the continued defense of the 2004 law banning gay marriage in Michigan, and endorses adding LGBTQ protections to the state’s anti-discrimination laws.
With long-time Democratic senator Carl Levin retiring, it’s an open race to replace him. Democratic nominee Gary Peters, a three-term Congressman, has an extensive record of pushing for pro-LGBT legislation on a national level, is a member of the Congressional LGBT caucus, and has been a leader in other progressive policy initiatives. Peters was also involved in crafting a bill to protect women’s healthcare from their employer’s whims following the Burwell v Hobby Lobby. GOP candidate Terri Lyn Land, former Michigan Secretary of State, is staunchly anti-gay marriage and has almost completely refused to engage with voters in her campaign. She’s also staunchly pro-life and favors repealing the Affordable Care Act.
For a guide to all local elections in Michigan, check out Pride Source’s Voters Guide.
The big race in Pennsylvania this year is the race for governor. Republican incumbent Governor Tom Corbett faces a strong challenge from Democratic candidate Tom Wolf. Wolf stands behind abortion rights, supports raising PA’s minimum wage to $10.10 from the federal $7.25, and legalizing gay marriage, as well as signing legislation against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. Corbett wants to keep the minimum wage at the federal level, is in favor of restricting abortion access, and continues to stand against gay marriage. Wolf is also against the voter identification law recently struck down by the Pennsylvania courts, which Corbett still supports.
In the months leading up to the election, Wolf has polled far ahead of Corbett, but the Corbett campaign has been pushing hard to close the gap, narrowing it significantly over the last few weeks.
Amendment 1 in Tennessee would encroach on the privacy of women in a state with some of the strongest privacy laws in the nation. The ballot measure, which would amend Tennessee’s constitution and insert language empowering state politicians to enact, amend, or repeal laws regarding abortion, also forbids them from writing laws that support or protect the right to abortion. This amendment would single-handedly open the flood gates for Tennessee legislators to pass draconian abortion bans like the measure decimating clinics in Texas.
Super Important First Step: Make Sure You Have The Right ID
It’s important to note that Texas has one of the strictest voter ID laws in the country. Earlier this month, federal district judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos deemed the voter ID law unconstitutional, saying it was a ploy by Republicans to prevent people of color from voting Democratic. However a couple of days before early voting took place, the Supreme Court allowed the voter ID law to take effect for this election cycle. So what does this mean for you? You must present one of the following in order to vote: your TX driver’s license, a TX personal ID card, a TX concealed handgun license, your military ID card, your passport, a certificate of citizenship / naturalization or an election ID certificate. All forms of ID must be current or no more than 60 days expired.
For nearly 20 years, a Republican has held the governor seat in Texas. It’s no wonder we haven’t gotten anything done because of this very fact. We need things to change around here and I think that’s why we need Wendy Davis. She catapulted into the national spotlight in the summer of 2013 when she filibustered an anti-choice law that ultimately passed and closed many health centers across Texas that provided care for women. Wendy is an advocate for women and working people and supports things that undoubtedly affect queer women. She wants to invest in public education, reduce standardized tests, expand Pre-K programs, keep teachers and make college affordable. Wendy is really big on serving working families in Texas so she wants to increase the minimum wage which would benefit 1.5 million women and also sign the Texas Equal Pay Act to close the pay gap. She also wants to fix Rick Perry’s fuck up and bring back Medicaid funds into Texas. In addition, she supports comprehensive immigration reform and marriage equality.
Lt. Gubernatorial Race
Leticia Van de Putte also fought alongside Wendy Davis the summer of 2013 to stop the anti-choice law to pass through the Texas legislature. After a Republican suspended Wendy’s filibuster Leticia and other Dems debated the suspension, which resulted in her saying this now semi-famous quote, “At what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over her male colleagues?” She’s on Texas women’s side for sure. She’s an advocate for equal pay, affordable health care and public education. She’s got big plans for higher education with her Texas Promise Scholarship plan which aims to provide Texas high school graduates with two free years to a community college or technical college in order to ramp up the Texas workforce and economy. Just know, that literally every major Texas newspaper (even the Dallas Morning News who endorsed Greg Abbott!) endorsed Leticia and not Dan Patrick because even they think he is “reckless” and “potentially explosive,” in other words, a dangerous motherf*cker!
Texas Transportation Funding Amendment, Proposition 1
Basically, vote yes for this! This amendment would divert oil and gas tax revenues from the state’s Rainy Day Fund into transportation funding for road repairs and maintenance. For a growing Texas, this is exactly what we need (actually, we probably need more than that but you know we’ll take what we can get.)
More resources on candidates
For more information on candidates, check out the non-partisan League of Women Voters’ guide in Dallas, Austin, Houston, San Antonio, etc. If you live in Dallas, the Dallas Morning News has this interactive voting guide that let’s you compare candidates and their stances on issues.
Wisconsin! Land of dairy, cooperatively owned football, and Scott Walker. There aren’t any major statewide ballot measures about social issues that I’m aware of (feel free to correct me!) but there are a few close races between diametrically opposed candidates. Right now the major race, the one for the gubernatorial seat, is almost neck and neck; who’s ahead depends somewhat on which polls you look at, but most numbers have Walker pulling ahead by a hair. (Five Thirty Eight more or less agrees.) However, historically Wisconsin political faceoffs have been hugely influenced by voter turnout — each side has almost equal support, and so the deciding factor is how many of those voters get to the polls. If you live in Wisconsin, make sure you make time to vote (there’s still early voting available until Nov 1!) and help others make it to the polls if you can!
Scott Walker (R)
Scott Walker is the incumbent governor of Wisconsin; even if you don’t follow Wisconsin politics closely, you may remember him for his 2011 legislative push to severely limit the right to collective bargaining for Wisconsin union members. Wisconsin Democrats targeted Walker for a recall after the bill was passed, but Walker survived it. During Walker’s tenure, a controversial voter ID law was also proposed and tested during the recall elections, but won’t appear on the ballot after being struck down by the courts.
Walker has also rejected Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, and reorganized the state budget so that it provides no funding to any organization affiliated with abortion services, which has forced Planned Parenthood to close several clinics (none of which even provided abortion services). In a June 2013 ranking of 45 of the nation’s 50 governors in terms of job creation, Walker was ranked at 40. Walker formerly supported the Common Core State Standards Initiative for education, but has recently begun to back away from it and indicate that he would want to make changes to its implementation. He’s also been roundly criticized for making severe cuts to funding for education.
Mary Burke (D)
Mary Burke is the first female gubernatorial candidate from any party in Wisconsin, and is endorsed by Planned Parenthood, Progressives United PAC, and EMILY’s List. She’s pro-choice and pro marriage equality, and has stated that if elected, she would overturn the rejection of the Obamacare Medicaid expansion. She’s a co-founder of the AVID/TOPS program, pioneered in Madison, where Burke is a school board member — the program “aims to prepare students in the “academic middle” ((i.e. students with a GPA of 2.0 to 3.5)) for four-year college eligibility and success.” She also opposes statewide expansion of school vouchers. She was caught up in some controversy when it was revealed that a campaign employee of hers had re-used language from an earlier campaign of his when writing her jobs plan.
Brad Schimel (R)
Schimel is pro-life and has given some conflicting statements on how he would deal with laws regarding abortion — he’s said “I respect the law of the land, and the law of the land is Roe v. Wade,” and indicated that he doesn’t think the attorney general has the right to decide whether laws should be enforced. However, he’s also signed a legal white paper that indicates support for a “trigger law” that would immediately criminalize abortion unless two doctors have ruled that the woman’s life is in danger and could also make some forms of birth control illegal if Roe v. Wade were ever to be overturned. He’s also stated that in a lawsuit regarding Wisconsin’s 2006 ban on same-sex marriage, he would defend the ban in court. Democrats have criticized him for what they consider inadequate prosecution of sexual offenders; in turn, Schimel has accused the Democratic candidate of the same.
Susan Happ (D)
Happ has stated that she wouldn’t defend Wisconsin’s 2006 state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in a lawsuit, and opposes voter ID laws. In a debate with Schimel, she stated that she believes “the attorney general is not a “robot,” and should not blindly follow state laws that are unconstitutional or run afoul of other principles.” Happ is endorsed by EMILY’s List. Republicans have criticized her for what they consider inadequate prosecution of sexual offenders; in turn, Happ has accused the Republican candidate of the same.
You can learn more about the Wisconsin midterm elections in general at Ballotpedia, including looking up a sample ballot that includes your local candidates and issues. You can also find a complete directory of candidates and all of the latest information about races and voting procedures.