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The Final Word by Rory Ryan

With the 2013 general election just a few weeks away, it's a good time to remind voters that the time to research your respective candidates and issues is now – prior to entering your local polling location.

For many voters across the U.S., the Nov. 5, 2013 general election is considered an "off-year" election. Still, there are gubernatorial races in New Jersey and Virginia that are attracting considerable media attention. Twenty-five U.S. states have races for their respective state legislatures this year.

There are many good resources for information on these candidates. Here in Ohio, the Secretary of State's public website provides information on campaign funding, which can provide additional insight on where a candidate is likely to stand on a particular industry-related issue. If, for example, a candidate is known to receive considerable campaign cash from, say, the utility industry, it often follows that he or she will vote favorably on that industry's pending legislation.

Another good source for information online is Project Vote Smart, http://votesmart.org.

Based in the Montana Rocky Mountains, Project Vote Smart "digests key legislation in Congress and all 50 states into easy-to-understand summaries, making it easy to compare what your representatives said during the campaign with how they actually voted on the record."

Its founding members were a bipartisan group that included former U.S. presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter and former U.S. senators Barry Goldwater and William Proxmire. In fact, no one can join Vote Smart's board without a political opposite.

With another general election on the not-too-distant horizon, now is the time to get to know your candidates and issues. After all, sometimes an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure – especially when considering would-be officeholders.

Rory Ryan is Senior Editor, North American Desk at Paperitalo Publications. He can be reached by email at rory.ryan@taii.com.


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