This section discusses three commonly used voter guides: Candidate Questionnaires, Voter Guides and Sample Ballots.
If you wish to do a candidate questionnaire, consider these key factors in determining whether a voter guide is nonpartisan:
- Do the questions cover a broad range of issues related to the broad interests of the electorate? For example, do the questions address all issues of importance to a specific elected office or reflect a truly broad range of concerns within your issue area?
- Are the questions or any description of the issues clear and unbiased in both structure and content?
- Are the questions posed to candidates identical to the questions you later publicly print or post online?
- Are the candidates given a reasonable amount of time to respond?
- If the questions ask the candidates to respond with “Yes” or “No” or “Undecided,” are candidates given the opportunity to give short one or two sentence explanations to explain their positions in their own words?
- Have all major candidates responded?
You may list "Did Not Respond."When a candidate fails to respond, some 501(c)(3)s choose to provide information about the candidate that is a matter of public record. If you do, be sure to stick to strictly factual information — name, address, etc. — and avoid efforts to summarize the candidate’s positions on issues, which might appear to be slanted to favor or disfavor the candidate. You should provide candidates a reasonable time period — for example three weeks — to give their responses and information. As the deadline nears, let the candidates know that if they don’t respond, you will print “did not respond”. While not required, it is a good practice to give the candidates the chance to review the final draft of their information and make any last minute corrections.
Voter Guides on Candidates and Ballot measures
A one-page guide may include the answers to a candidate questionnaire or may just provide basic information on the candidates on the ballot.
If you are doing a Voter Guide, make it short andeasy to print or post online. Voter Guides takes time to prepare and are ordinarily prepared by coalitions or broader, nonpartisan voter engagement entities.
|Guide to Candidates||Guide to Ballot Measures|
|Name and photo of candidates
||Brief summary of what a "yes" or "no" vote means
|Current occupation, party affiliation||List of major endorsements provided by Yes/No ballot measure committees
|List of major endorsements provided by the candidates
A list of top financial contributors to each side
|Answers to a candidate questionnaire||Campaign contact information
|Campaign contact information
If you wish, you may add short explanations of the office up for election or translate the sample ballot into languages relevant to your community.