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Tips for Casting a Wise Vote During Elections

There’s no question about the sanctity of your vote. It’s your right to cast it and it’s your right to a hand to shaping the future of your own country. However, not all votes are equal. Some are made without careful thought, some with dishonest intentions, or with a masked indifference. In any case, if you’ve vowed to vote wiser in the coming elections, there are concrete steps you can take to make sure that actually happens.

First off, don’t make it all about instinct. Yes, our gut can be a good guide, but it won’t always be right if you don’t give it sound, logical basis. Voting well means making a choice for the common good of all. Don’t get stuck in your own opinions. Don’t be swayed by charisma. Don’t use your emotions. Remember, feelings can be deceptive. The best way to decide whom to vote for is to think critically.

Second, while social media can be a good source of information, don’t rely on it completely, especially in terms of news. We all know how easy it is to create a story with a clever, catchy headline and make it go viral. Even if what you read is true, it’s still not a good to choose a candidate because they seem so popular among people, getting so many comments, likes or retweets. In fact, you should expand your information sources to websites, magazines or papers that have a different slant than your own. By listening to others, you can weigh your own perspectives and see more clearly.

Third, try to read transcripts of election debates instead of watching them on TV or online. As with our feelings, our eyes can be misleading. There are studies that show a significant favor towards male candidates over female ones, and for more attractive female candidates in general. No matter how we all hate to admit that we can have such shallow basis for our biases, it’s a reality worth checking, especially if it comes down to our nation’s future leaders.

Finally, decide if it’s best to abstain than vote for your least disliked candidate. If you don’t think you can’t vote right, then you do the country less damage by not voting at all. Considering that you still have your reasons for not wanting to vote for that least disliked candidate, voting for them still means helping that person win.

At the end of the day, the secret to casting a good vote is to inform yourself. Never focus on personalities. This is probably the worst thing you can do as a voter. Don’t be driven by your emotions either. Use your mind, gather facts, create a spreadsheet if you must and list the pros and cons with each candidate, and make your most rational choice. The good thing about elections is that you always have enough time to do all of those. That means you have no excuse for making a hurried or uninformed choice.

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