Five Ways to Evaluate a Candidate

Well y’all, it’s almost election season again. Across the country, folks are preparing for their local municipal elections. At Down Home, we believe that all elections are an important tool that help us build power, and the more information that our neighbors have about who is running and what they can do in office, then the bigger the impact we can make on our communities together.

Whether there are elections in your town this year or the next, everyone should be looking into their candidates and holding them accountable for their stances and choices. Here’s five ways that you can look into your candidates at every level of government.

Check out their website and social media.

A good place to start finding information about a candidate is on their official website. On that website, they should have a biography, their main political issues and viewpoints, and a place to contact them. Social media is also a major way that candidates connect with voters, so be sure to check out what they’ve said and where they’ve been on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and any other accounts they have.

For an incumbent, check their voting record.

For our representatives in Congress, the way that they vote is public record. A candidate’s website will list the issues they say that they care about, but the voting record is where you really find out what a candidate believes in. Go to to research their voting records and find out how to contact them. Local incumbents may or may not have their voting record obviously available, but NC’s Open Records Act make minutes available for anyone who requests them. 

Go to their events. 

Candidates want your vote, and they’ll make themselves available to the voters via town halls, debates, or other informal stops. Make sure to give them a visit! It’s a great opportunity to directly hold them accountable and assess whether a candidate’s values reflect your own.

Call or drop into their campaign office. 

At a candidate’s campaign office, you should be able to ask to speak to the candidate or their representative and get your questions answered about the issues that matter most to you.

Factcheck the candidates’ answers on important issues.

  •, which is run by the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, keeps track of candidates’ statements and claims.
  • The AARP covers candidates, their policies, and their voting history.
  • Ballotpedia is a one-stop shop for information about most candidates on the federal, state, and local level.

What's Next?

Down Home members choose candidates to endorse very carefully. If you’re considering becoming a member of Down Home, come to an event and get a feel for what we’re all about. Tap or click the link below and find an event to attend today!