It's your vote. Here's how to make the most of it

This year, our political bandwidth is consumed by the presidential contest, and in Kentucky, with the U.S. Senate race. But politics – and more accurately, governing – is local.

On the local level, city councils, school boards, and state legislatures are where decisions are made that affect our lives, our families, and our neighborhoods. It’s also where real people can have real influence.

In Northern Kentucky’s three counties, there are city commission races in Covington, Newport, Florence, and nearly every city in the region. There are school board races in Covington, Newport, Erlanger/Elsmere, and most other school districts. There are state representative contests in every Kentucky House district.

Now is the time to make your voice heard. Here’s how to do that. This information is from Vote For NKY, a nonpartisan advocacy effort to improve voter engagement and increase voter turnout in Boone, Campbell, and Kenton counties. It does not endorse political candidates or causes.

Where and when to vote
From now until election day, Northern Kentucky residents can vote early during the week and on the two Saturdays before the election (Oct. 24 and 31) by going to designated polling places established by their county clerks. Here’s more information on where and when you can do early, in-person voting in Boone County, Campbell County, and Kenton County.

Polls also will be open on Election Day from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Here’s a list of where to vote on Election Day in Boone County, Campbell County, and Kenton County.

The deadline to request an absentee ballot for this election has expired. If you have received an absentee ballot, you must return it by mail by 6 p.m. on Nov. 3 or deposit it in official drop boxes designated in your county. Here’s where drop boxes are located in Boone County, Campbell County, and Kenton County. 

Absentee voting has existed in Kentucky for decades without issue and was widely used during the 2020 primary election without significant issues. Because of COVID-19, state election officials have relaxed absentee voting rules during this election to allow Kentuckians concerned about contracting or spreading the virus to vote by absentee ballot.

Absentee ballot processing committees – which are equally represented by registered Democrats and registered Republicans — have been established in every Kentucky county to observe, process, and count ballots, including verifying signatures on these ballots. This verification process is permitted to continue until Nov. 9, so final, certified election results may not occur until after this date.

The Secretary of State’s website allows you to track the status of your absentee ballot — i.e., when you requested it, when it was sent to you, and when the ballot was received by the county clerk.

On the national level
There is a daily, even hourly tidal wave of information on TV, in print, on websites, and on social media feeds. It can feel overwhelming.

The librarians at Northern Kentucky University’s Steely Library have compiled a list of tips and resources to help navigate the election information landscape, which we've republished here. More information is available at NKU's Scripps Howard Center for Civic Engagement’s election page.

Apply the F.R.A.N.K. test (Feelings, Read, Authority, New tab, Kind of source) to sources to consider the accuracy and credibility of information relevant to candidates and issues. Watch the video

Use fact-checking sites
Not sure if a candidate’s claim is accurate? Fact checking sites will often do the work for you. For example, websites like Snopes, Politifact, or are especially useful during candidate debates.

Be responsible
Inaccurate information is widespread across social media outlets, and continues to be shared, shared, and shared again. Research found that 60% of material that is shared isn’t read. Click. Read. And evaluate, before you share a source.

Know your ballot
Vote 411 is a free resource that provides up-to-date election information for each state, and will connect users with their ballot information to learn more about state and local candidates and issues. Vote 411 was created by the League of Women Voters, an organization with a long history of providing election information.

Research the issues from Encyclopedia Brittanica or a library database like CQ Researcher will connect you with background information on issues relevant to the 2020 election, such as healthcare, immigration, police reform, and gun control. ProCon also contains a page dedicated to the election.

Know the polls
Polls will be shared in abundance during election season, but not every poll is scientifically sound. Fivethirtyeight summarizes polls relevant to the election (and other topics). The site also assigns ratings to polling organizations, based on historical accuracy and methodology.

Read news coverage
Access World News from Steely Library will connect you with extensive coverage of current events, including more than 600 U.S. publications. Organized by topics, Access World News, compiles news coverage of the presidential election, broken down into subtopics relevant to issues, candidates, and the election process. 

Read news from multiple outlets
Allsides is a useful resource for viewing current event coverage, including election news, from liberal, moderate, and conservative perspectives. Allsides acknowledges that news has bias and seeks to provide readers with balanced coverage by looking at news stories from all perspectives.

Investigate campaign finances
Campaign finance data is available from the Federal Elections Commission website. Find out how much money candidates raise, how it was spent, and who provided it.

Vote smart
Vote Smart is an interactive website that easily and visually connects users with state and federal candidates. Vote Smart's mission is to provide free, factual, unbiased information on candidates and elected officials.


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