Not sure who to vote for? Check out the list of available candidate profiles

With the Nov. 6th, 2012 general election quickly approaching, deciding who to vote for can be a difficult task, and is likely the reason why so many voters chose to do a straight party ticket; however, with very low congressional approval ratings, and more voters wanting to make informed decisions, it's important that voters have reliable resources from which to learn about the many different candidates.
Recap of the 2012 elections in Photos.
Recap of the 2012 elections in Photos.
Jack Gault

Differences in Proposed Federal Spending BudgetsSeth Hollist for US Congress
Here's a list of some of the sources of information that northern Texans will find useful in researching the candidates.
To start with, if you need a general idea whose philosophizes are most in-line with, try these quizzes:
Ballotpedia, utilizing the same technology used for Wikipedia, this site provides complete information about all the candidates running for office, along with primary election results.
The Texas Tribune provides a nice graph for watching the various contests. It also provides some basic candidates profiles.
For a more localized Collin County source check out the Allen Area Patriots. Once the candidate profiles are published it is expected that they will also include reviews with recommendations and optionally the candidate can provide a rebuttal to their recommendations and analysis.
Texas NORML released a candidate survey that received the most responses from Libertarian Candidates, likely because other candidates know they would not be looked at favorably by that organization; or the 56% of US citizens that now agree with them.
The Vote Texas site is also a great resource for all Texas state wide candidates, and can even provide you information on which candidates will specifically be on your personal ballot. Candidates were also given the ability to directly input and edit content on the web-site to give voters more information on their positions.
The local League of Women Voters has their Smart Voter on-line tool, or the national organization provides the Vote411 web-site that looks very similar the one provided by the Dallas Morning News.
Candidate questionnaires for the Dallas Morning News can also be compared. This site even has a great social media sharing tool integrated with Facebook. Once you complete their mock ballot, you can e-mail it or print it so that you have a copy to take with you to the polls.
There's also an organization called Project Vote Smart, which includes voting records for incumbents and some financial information.
If want to "follow the money" of the congressional candidates contributors check out OpenCongress. They provideinformation reported to the FEC, as well as analysis of who money is attempting to influence the elections, and the nation's policies.
The best recommendation I can give is don't vote straight party ticket. Giving your loyalties to one party or another in this manner only re-enforces the duopoly party system that prevents many issues and viewpoints from getting the attention they deserve. It promotes ideas of "voting for the lesser of two evils", and has led to the social divisions and political conundrum we currently have today.
Be sure to also check out the below links to my other articles for some more specific candidate analysis.

Sample ballots now available for 2012 general election in Texas

Seth Hollist's sample ballot with some suggestions of how to vote.

Dallas County and Collin County have released their sample ballots for the 2012 general election. These sample ballots are important as they allow voters to preview the options, allowing them to know which specific candidates they need to research.
Sample Ballot for US House Texas distrcit 32

Also available are lists of voting locations and times for early voting. In generally early voting will start on the 23rd of October, and go until November 2nd. Be sure to check the hours of operation for the particular location you plan to visit. On November 6th, the voting hours will be from 7am - 7pm.
Being a presidential election year, it is expected that we'll see record campaign spending and voter turnout. While the presidential race certainly attracts lots of media attention, voters will also need to be aware of state and local level candidates that will also be on the ballot. Often times, finding information about these candidates can be somewhat difficult, resulting in a majority of ballots being straight party votes.

In Texas there will be four parties with straight party voting available on state wide ballots: Libertarian, Green, Democrat, and Republican. Wright in candidates will only count if the candidate has previously filed as a wright in candidate, and any candidate who ran in the primary and lost, is not eligible to be in the general election or to run as a write in.Being a presidential election year, it is expected that we'll see record campaign spending and voter turnout. While the presidential race certainly attracts lots of media attention, voters will also need to be aware of state and local level candidates that will also be on the ballot. Often times, finding information about these candidates can be somewhat difficult, resulting in a majority of ballots being straight party votes.
Will this year's election be any different? The idea of a Libertarian candidate is likely much more acceptable today, largely thanks to the term libertarian being used in the general vocabulary of many people, and Ron Paul's run for President. Personally I would encourage people not to vote for the party, but to vote for the candidates as this is the best way to truly be heard via your vote.
There is also currently polling happening for some races in the area. On Election Day, you will also be able to follow the election results specific to Dallas County or the State in General.

Contenders for Texas' U.S. Senate 2012 election

Dallas County Libertarian Party table and Ross parade.



It's ramp up time for the general election happening on November 6th, 2012. One of the races this year is Texas' U.S. Senate contest. Here are the basics that you need to know about each candidate:
Ted Cruz is the expected winner in this very strongly Republican state, but is he truly the best candidate? His web-site claims that he has a proven record despite the fact that he has never held a publicly elected office. Still he does have over a decade in public service as the Solicitor General of Texas. Essentially Ted is a government lawyer whose wife is also a vice president for Goldman Sachs, and he was born in Canada. Some of his notable accomplishments include memorizing the Constitution in high school as part of a Free Enterprise Institute program, and being the founding editor of the Harvard Latino Law Review.
John Jay Myers is a charismatic Libertarian who thinks Cruz and Sadler are extremists, because they both support actions against Iran, continuing the violent and costly war on drugs, and other big government initiatives that are driving us further into debt. John Jay's three main campaign initiatives are to end the wars that "create more terrorists than they stop", end corporate welfare by "strongly limit what government can do, and to make it impossible for politicians to reward their corrupt friends", and letting us live free. His web-site also states that our "choice of sexual partners and what substances you put into your body is none of government’s business."
Paul Sadler is the relatively underfunded Democrat challenger. He has previously been elected to the Texas House of Representatives, during which he takes credit for passing "legislation to raise teacher pay three times and to create the teacher health insurance program". He doesn't say if he supports "ObamaCare", but his web-site certainly says he supports many provisions contained within it. Another main point of his campaign is to support alternative energy sources stating on his web-site, "Paul is a nationally recognized expert on alternative and renewable energy sources".
David B. Collins is the Green Party candidate who supports Jill Stein’s Green New Deal. He is also a believer in global warming and states that we need to "prepare the nation to face the effects of climate change already occurring." He also wants to "Institute public financing of electoral campaigns, and a Constitutional amendment stating that corporations are not people and money is not speech, to keep corporations and extremely wealthy individuals from buying elections." He also appears to be anti-immigration, but also wants to give those already here a path to citizenship.