How do you decide who will get your vote?
For many of us at Saint Mary's and Notre Dame, this election will bring about the first chance to exercise our right to vote. But for many, the options may seem daunting.
So maybe you haven't exactly had the chance to read all the news analyses and reports, watch all the debates and interviews or attend the rallies. Maybe you're awash in the propaganda and platforms, with "surplus" and "social security" running through your head. You can hardly decide what cereal to eat each morning, much less which candidate best represents what you may want over the next four years.
You are forgiven.
Where can one turn for an unbiased, concise source of information? How can one determine which candidate's beliefs most closely align with his or her own?
Look no further than www.speakout.com/VoteMatch.
Speakout.com evaluates your beliefs on a variety of political issues and then matches those results with a candidate.
The political issues are broken down into four main categories: individual rights, domestic issues, economic issues and international issues.
Each category is then divided into several subcategories to more accurately determine your stances. The survey asks specific questions regarding everything from the death penalty to education vouchers, free trade to gay rights.
With the simple click of a mouse, you can select from five options that display varying degrees of opposition, agreement or indifference towards an issue. Not quite certain what issue the question is referring to? Just click on the question and a pop-up window will open explaining the history and importance of the given subject and just what it means to support or oppose it.
Once you have completed one of the four major sections, the survey will ask how important a candidate's stance on that specific section is overall in comparison with other issues.
After answering all the questions (there are fewer than 30) the Web site will automatically calculate the results for you. You will be presented with a series of scores — how you match up with several candidates. The numbers reflect the percentages of how your beliefs match with each candidate overall, personally and economically.
Accompanying the scores are photos of each candidate and links to more information. You can view a full profile of the candidate, see how you match the candidates shown issue by issue and even join other concerned citizens to discuss the candidate in a forum.
There are also links including quotes and video clips of the candidates speaking on various topics.
With Speakout.com, you might just find a little clarity in all the political mudslinging and partial perspectives flying through the air.
The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.
All Scene Stories for Friday, November 3, 2000