The lists of unfamiliar names can seem bewildering on Election Day.
In a county of one million souls, who knows any of these people? Who has time to find out? And who ever heard of an election in June?
What, now it’s already time for the General Election?! Yes. The Maryland General Election will be Tuesday, Nov. 4, with early voting from Thursday, Oct. 23 to Thursday, Oct. 30.
Fortunately, the League of Women Voters guide for Montgomery County, MD, is available, and it’s one of your best sources. It has information straight from the candidates, including unfiltered answers to a few key issue questions.
Unfortunately, the LWV makes its voters guide difficult to access. If you google it, you’ll probably end up at a LWV page for Montgomery County, PA. Here are the best ways I know to find the LWF voters guide for Montgomery County, MD:
1) The paper version of the LWV voters guide is inside the current edition of the Banner Newspaper, available free at county libraries and many other locations.
2) For the online version of the new LWF voters guide for the General Election, click on this updated link, and then click on the attachment to open the PDF version of the voter guide. You can save the PDF of the voters guide to your computer, and print it out if you wish.
Be warned, the LWV guide makes tedious reading, even though the candidate information is concise. But if you read candidate’s answers to LWV questions carefully, you can usually see the differences between Democratic and Republican candidates.
The LWV guide and other sources usually contain information about all the Democratic and Republican candidates, and a few Green Party candidates, who survived the primaries. All the 2014 Maryland statewide elections have two or more candidates. Most of the Montgomery County races for County Council and General Assembly are also contested. However, in a few districts, no Republican could be found and the Democratic candidate is running unopposed. In those few cases, the Democratic candidate is going to be elected, barring a successful write-in challenge.
You can view brief videos of many (but not all) candidates speaking at MyMCMedia.
Sometimes endorsements can be helpful in making a decision. For example:
Every imaginable interest group makes endorsements, but it’s rarely clear how interest groups arrive at their decisions. Many times they seem to arbitrarily favor incumbents. Interest group “scorecards” reporting how incumbents voted on issues are more objective than general endorsements. Candidates often tout the endorsements they’ve received in their campaign literature and on their websites.
The Washington Post’s editorial page endorsements for the June primaries for the eight General Assembly districts in Montgomery County are here. My blog post abut The Post’s primary endorsements for Montgomery County Executive and County Council are here, and it includes a link to The Post.
The Post’s endorsements for the General Election are incomplete. I’ll try to post a link after all the endorsements are made.
I would take The Post’s endorsements with a grain of salt. Make your own voting decisions.
I haven’t found a link for the Gazette Newspapers online guide for the General Election yet.
The Gazette also makes editorial page endorsements, which you can google if you wish. The Gazette’s endorsements are at least as valid as The Post’s.
Ballotpedia.org can be a useful source for candidate data.
Candidate campaign websites are also a good source of positive, uncritical information. Nearly every politician has a website these days. You can usually find it by googling the candidate’s name.
Remain calm and make your choices. Polls in Maryland will remain open until 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014.
— John Hayden