Voting Matters

You’ve heard it before. We all know voting is important. But being an informed voter is vital, and it matters today more than ever.

The mid-term elections are coming up in a  few weeks, with early voting starting October 24. Many of you have already done your research and made your decisions (yay!), but for those still on the fence, I wanted to share some helpful resources I use to guide me in the process. Get ready: I am a total nerd and avid researcher. 

I start with a copy of my sample ballot and go through each race, candidate, and question, researching the options and making notes on my final decisions. (You can find your sample ballot on the election website for your county of residence. see below) And because LGBTQ+ issues are so important to me, I rely heavily on Equality Florida’s endorsement guide, as well as HRC’s guide. 

Once I have that information, I still like to do a quick Google search on the endorsed candidates, to make sure there isn’t anything that conflicts with my other beliefs and values. Often, I can find that information directly from the candidate themselves, via their website or social media platforms.

Another great resource is VOTE411 , a product of the nonpartisan League of Women Voters, a national group borne out of the Women’s Suffrage movement. In this guide, they don’t make any endorsements, and instead do a Q&A with candidates, asking the same questions to all candidates in a particular race. The questionnaire is entirely voluntary, and for me, it tends to a raise flag if a candidate doesn’t participate in this well-respected guide. What are they hiding? Or maybe becoming an elected official just isn’t that important to them. Either way, this is a great place to help make up your own mind on who to vote for. The LWV guide also looks at amendments, with clear explain actions of what yes and no votes would mean. I recommend entering your address into the VOTE411 site to get all the races and amendments relevant to you. 

I find it can also be quite helpful to look at the endorsements of groups that represent the opposite of what I stand for. You know the ones I’m talking about — The groups working hard to take away rights, impose their beliefs on those who are different, and make some people second class citizens. As one last review before voting, I like to compare some of those endorsements to my ballot, to make sure I’m not backing any candidates who support a hateful group’s harmful ideals. 

Still not sure if you even want to vote? Check out this NGLCC article detailing why it’s so important:

I did warn you — I’m a research geek, and I’ll provide all these links and more below.

This year has been intense, and I expect many of us to be on edge over the next few weeks, with so many of our freedoms on the line. Be nice to each to each other out there – and get to know your candidates, donate if you can, knock on doors if you can, and VOTE. And encourage your friends to do the same.

Kellie Parkin

President and CEO

The Pride Chamber

kellie @



To find your Orange County sample ballot, early voting sites, and Election Day polling place, go here:

Seminole County election information:

Osceola County election information:

Other counties:


Equality Florida

League of Women Voters  VOTE411 

Human Rights Campaign


Non-religious / separation of church and state:


Orlando Sentinel interviews and guide:

For judge races, Florida Bar

LGBTQ+ Dems Endorsements: