#1 Don’t just go with your gut.
Voting well means making your choice from a standpoint of informed consideration and with an eye toward the common good, says Jason Brennan, a political philosopher at Georgetown University and author of The Ethics of Voting
. “Suppose you go to a doctor and ask for advice about an illness—you’d expect the doctor to have your interests at heart and to think rationally about your symptoms,” he says. “Voters owe the same thing to each other and the electorate. Vote for everyone’s best interest, and when you’re forming your political beliefs, form them based on information and learning, not on the basis of quick thinking, anger or bias….”
#2 Don’t get all your news from social media. Most of us have unfollowed, unfriended or muted contacts on Facebook, Twitter and other networks because their political views make us mad. Doing so can give rise to narrowed political views and groupthink…
Try broadening your news sources by tuning to channels or sites, papers or magazines that have a different slant than you do….
#3 Watch the next debate with your eyes closed. A recent study by Joan Y. Chiao, then at Northwestern University, a founder of the new field of cultural neuroscience, found that voters perceive male candidates as more competent and dominant than female ones, based on facial features alone. What’s more, voters of both genders tend to prefer physically attractive female candidates, whereas attractiveness doesn’t matter for male ones….
#4 Know when to abstain. I have a confession to make: I didn’t vote in the presidential primaries. I’m not used to the mail-in ballots in my adopted home state of Oregon, and I sent mine in too late to be counted. Looking back, I think perhaps it was for the best: I’d been waffling for months about which candidate to choose and hadn’t taken the time to firmly ground my choice in facts and information. “We’ve found that having more information changes people’s policy preferences,” Brennan says. “We can specifically predict what the American public likely would choose if it were better informed….”