Your Tech Guide to the 2018 Midterm Elections

If you want to take part in history, now is the time to start planning. Here are some of the best apps, websites, and podcasts that will help you be informed and engaged.

Find Your True Political Identity

Many people have political beliefs that do not fit neatly into a box. If you have ever wondered where you truly stand on the issues, I recommend taking an impartial and well-regarded online test. The Pew Research Center’s Political Typology Quiz will ask you 16 simple questions about your stance on everything from foreign policy to education. Once you have finished the quiz, you will see how your views match up with other American voters. It’s also interesting to see whether you find yourself in a different group than what Pew describes as Core Conservatives or Solid Liberals. For example, you may discover that you are pro-free trade and pro-immigration as a New Era Enterpriser, or perhaps as a Disaffected Democrat, you find that neither party particularly reflects your progressive views.

Get Registered

A plethora of online local, state, and national resources will help you get ready for the election. Rock the Vote is a national, nonpartisan site that does an amazing job of explaining your voting rights and how you can get registered. The site also has a lot of great resources for anyone who wants to start a voter registration drive, including social media guides, templates for building a website, and all the necessary forms.

The good news about registering is you no longer need to wait in line at the Elections Office to do so. Simply visit the Washington state election website, and fill out the online form. As long as you have a valid Washington driver’s license or ID card, you can register to vote in the mid-terms in less than 10 minutes. Keep in mind the deadline to register online for this year’s election is Oct. 8.

At the local level, King County’s elections page (kingcounty.gov/depts/elections) allows you to double check your registration information, track your ballot, and read about the candidates and initiatives.

Finally, take a moment to download the Washington State Elections Results App so you can get the latest updates on which candidates and initiatives are winning. You can also add races to your favorites list and see overall voter turnout.

Keep Informed With These Podcasts

Podcasts are a terrific way to stay informed. NPR’s Politics podcast features prominent public radio reporters such as Ayesha Rascoe, Scott Horsley, Carrie Johnson, and Asma Khalid giving a weekly round-up of national stories. Since most episodes are only 20 minutes long, this podcast fits perfectly into a busy schedule.

For in-depth analysis, it’s hard to beat the FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast. This show is hosted by famous political analyst Nate Silver and takes a statistical view of what’s really driving current events. Recent episodes have looked at how gerrymandering could affect the midterm elections, how millennial voters are pushing the Democratic party further left, and how partisanship collides with economics when it comes to immigration reform.

Washington State Wire features interviews with city, county, and state leaders from both parties. Host D.J. Wilson recently led a 2018 election roundtable, which is well worth a listen if you want to learn how the midterms could shake up the political landscape in Olympia. The Seattle Times’ Overcast podcast also does an excellent job of discussing the issues directly affecting the greater Seattle area. I highly recommend the interview with Times data columnist Gene Balk regarding the perception that local crime is skyrocketing versus the actual numbers.

If you want to split the difference (pun intended), I highly recommend two podcasts that tackle the issues from both sides of the aisle. Pantsuit Politics features “Sarah from the left” Stewart Holland and “Beth from the right” Silvers discussing politics in a passionate but always polite manner. Listening to their podcast is like sitting in on a coffee date with two close friends who are both incredibly well-informed. On the Left, Right, & Center podcast, host Josh Barro invites prominent conservatives and liberals to have a polite but provocative battle of wits over the latest happenings. These are two of my favorite podcasts because they demonstrate how Democrats and Republicans can still stay civil and find common ground.

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