We stopped taking political advice from shrill cable TV pundits years ago, but it can take serious time to investigate the best candidates yourself. That's why we're delighted to find a web tool called VoteEasy just in time to do our civic duty on November 2nd.
Simply enter your address and you'll land on a cyber-lawn of yard signs mirroring your own election-day ballot. Answer a few questions about your views on key issues – from abortion to education to taxes – and watch as the signs move closer or further away from you, indicating who does or doesn't share your opinions. At any point, click on a candidate's sign to reveal his or her full details. Even if you do have time to research widely, it's a great jumping-off point for the intelligent voter.
The tool is so informed because it's fueled by the smarties at non-profit Votesmart.org who specialize in combing through politicians' backgrounds, positions, voting records, campaign finances, interest group ratings, public statements and more.
Maybe you can't really distill complex politics down to dancing picket signs, but it sure beats random ballot punching.