By Sylvia Gurinsky
There's change. And then there's CHANGE.
There are lots of "newbies" running for political office this year.
Frustrated voters are looking at people who are new to the political process and seeing them as viable alternatives to veteran elected officials. They're looking at people who have had their seats - or political office - for years and saying, "Enough."
That's understandable. But wanting new faces and new ideas increases voters' responsibility to learn more about who they're voting for - or against.
Elected officials have voting records that can be checked at sites like Project Vote Smart (www.votesmart.org) and campaign finance records that can be checked at OpenSecrets.org and the Federal Election Commission (www.fec.gov).
For others......It's a lot tougher. The businessman or businesswoman with the snazzy ads? The teacher running for the local office? The doctor running for the legislature?
What's a confused voter to do?
Beware. And beseech.
Find candidates' websites. If they don't have answers to your questions, pressure them for more. Get in touch with your local media outlets and make sure they ask the tough questions, too. If a profession is listed, or if a candidate makes a statement about history, check it out.
Look for the "Politifact"-style sections of your local newspaper, which will usually examine candidate ads for truth or falsehoods.
Above all, make sure the candidate who sounds impressive is, in fact, the best one for the job. Your future depends on it.