Our Opinion: Voters, it’s in your hands today (but here are some resources for guidance)


It’s your turn.

Put aside what the pundits, political ads and pollsters have told you to believe, and vote Tuesday for the candidates who – in your judgment – will best represent you.

And, no, abstaining from your civic duty because you “don’t like the candidates” should not be considered a viable excuse on Election Day. Someone is going to serve in these highly influential federal and state government posts, so you might as well register your opinion as to whom that should be, even if you’re not excited about the options.

For voters in Northeastern Pennsylvania, the ballot includes more to consider than the presidential hopefuls. Victors also will be selected for coveted U.S. Senate and U.S. House seats, and a host of Harrisburg offices, including attorney general, auditor general, treasurer and contested state representative jobs.

Plus, there’s a statewide ballot question regarding a potential change to the mandatory retirement age of judges, and voters in Luzerne County get a chance to weigh in about proposed amendments to the county’s home rule charter. (For a prior Times Leader article about those ballot questions, visit http://bit.ly/2eP2EoA.)

To help you make informed decisions and remain aware of your rights at the polling place, you can consult online resources such as these:

VoteSmart.org. An unbiased treasure trove of information, VoteSmart.org even supplies a “Vote Easy” feature that allows participants to “find your political soulmate.” Select from issues such as immigration, guns, Social Security and national security, then answer a few questions and find the candidate, including Libertarian and Green party candidates, who most matches your philosophy.

Ballotpedia.org. Self-described as “the online encyclopedia of American politics and elections,” Ballotpedia.org covers the gamut, from candidates’ favored policies to, when available, their voting records on key issues.

PolitiFact.com. A project of the Tampa Bay Times and its partners, PolitiFact offers a “Truth-O-Meter” that analyzes certain claims and ranks their veracity with labels such as “mostly true,” “half true” “false” and “pants on fire!”

Everyone.votesPA.com. A site run by the Pennsylvania Department of State, Everyone.votesPA.com includes links such as “Find Your Polling Place” and “Check Voter Registration Status.” The site also includes a downloadable brochure titled “Top 5 Things Every Pennsylvania Voter Should Know for the 2016 Elections.” The publication is available in English and Spanish.

• The League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania website, at palwv.org.

• The Luzerne County Bureau of Elections web page, accessible at www.luzernecounty.org. The bureau can be reached by phone at 570-825-1715.

Don’t count yourself out of the decision-making process.