If voters are going to be searching the internet for information about you, make sure there’s information to find.
For the politically engaged individual who wants to keep track of all the basic facts of the USA’s numerous elections, it’s hard to beat Ballotpedia. The online encyclopedia is kept relatively up-to-date by a team of expert writers and researchers, not crowd-sourced like its Wikipedia-adjacent name might indicate. But today I want to talk about that “relatively” and how it affects your candidacy.
When you file your paperwork, Ballotpedia creates a profile for you related to the race you’re running in. However, they put almost no information but the race you’re running in. As an example I’ll use Lauren Childers who ran an unsuccessful bid for the Mississippi House of Representatives’s 3rd District (I don’t mean to pick on Lauren! She’s just a typical example of the basic info profile that goes up).
The race already happened, so her page displays the result of the election too, but little other information
They add details about the office to the profiles of sitting legislators, giving incumbents a advantage in information. However, you don’t have to be a faceless blob, mysterious and undiscoverable to the activist masses! Ballotpedia has an easy way to add a nice picture, your bio, and your views on important issues: Candidate Verification.
Once you’re verified, they may even send you a survey to gauge your governing philosophy and let voters and curious internet denizens get to know you better! With so many local and state level candidates and races, Ballotpedia simply doesn’t have the time to create complete profiles of you and your campaign. The good news is that you don’t have to leave the ball in their court.
Ballotpedia made an effort to get more information about candidates for the high-profile statehouse races in fall 2017 New Jersey and Virginia. This was great, but it may not continue every year, as the number of races is so high. It’s better not to wait to find out, just fill this stuff out!