How to Use Influence Texas to Become an Informed Voter

 Art supplied by Laura Fisk of @fiskandfern.

Art supplied by Laura Fisk of @fiskandfern.

Early voting has started has started in Texas! You can vote for in races for Ted Cruz’s U.S. Senate seat, governor, attorney general, supreme court justice, court of appeals, state representative, state senator, city mayor, city councilman, and school board of trustees, just to name a few.

So how can you be an informed voter? Let’s be honest: Unless you’ve got a whole lot of time on your hands, it’s virtually impossible for you to be properly informed to vote in every race. But when it comes to races for state lawmakers — the Texas House and Senate seats — Influence Texas is here to help.

What does “properly informed” mean? Reading candidate statements about what they believe in and what they intend to do is fine. But to be properly informed, you need to know if the politician’s financial motivation lines up with their alleged beliefs. That’s why the free Influence Texas web app has campaign finance information showing you who gave the most money to your Texas lawmakers and the voting records showing how they behaved as a result.

The best resource for you to use to find out who will be on your ballot is the League of Women Voters’ Vote 411 website. Just enter your address and get a personalized ballot that you can even print and take with you to your polling place (because you can’t take your cell phone). The website ensures privacy; it won’t save your information.

Influence Texas is politically agnostic. We don’t make voting recommendations, but we do encourage you not to take the easy way out and vote straight party ticket, which is still allowed in Texas. “Straight-ticket voting” gives a voter the option to hit a virtual red or blue button, which automatically fills in an entire ballot with all Republican or Democratic candidates, respectively.

Remember: You can be choosy! There’s no law saying you have to vote in every race. Do your best and be an #informedvoter.

Happy voting!