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    What Makes an Ethical Voter?

    I recently read a blog, The Five Principles of Integrity in Elections where the author discusses a commitment to ethics which is needed in elections, particularly by election officials.  I would suggest that the same five principles could be used by voters when picking a candidate, a position on an issue and engaging in political debate.

    Independence: On the heels of Super Tuesday, pundits and analysts are looking at a number of voting blocks and they easily group demographics together as one voice – the minority vote, the women’s vote, the millennial vote, etc.   One recent article noted that single, childless, women are the most powerful voting block in the country – yay for me!  However many of my single, female friends with children and I greatly differ in our political beliefs.  Perhaps one thing that shouldn’t be overlooked in voting blocks is the great number of independent thinkers.

    Transparency: In this world of social media, Facebook, Twitter, and online petitions, individuals have more vehicles than ever before to engage in the political process. One can be as transparent as they want when it comes to taking a position or supporting a candidate.  Individuals can also leverage these tools to learn more about issues and where people stand.  An engaged electorate is a transparent electorate that not only shares their views, but where their research and information is coming from.

    Integrity: I live in one of the Super Tuesday states, so my Facebook was flooded with “I Voted” stickers, pictures from result watch parties and a quote from a friend who noted “people should vote their conscience and it will all work out”.  Integrity comes into play as voters determine what issues are priorities.

    Competence: The blog that I referenced earlier discussed “competence” in relation to the attention of detail election officials need to ensure the voter has a good experience.  My own district ran out of paper ballots during Tuesday’s primary.  Voters need to be competent and aware of their rights when casting a ballot.  This means knowing what accessibility means, the need for showing identification, what type of identification is required, etc.

    Fairness: As an advocate for a charitable nonprofit, I am very much aware of the principle of fairness.  Limitations placed on nonprofits like Goodwill means that we cannot endorse a particular candidate or engage in certain political activity.  However we can educate and nonprofits play a huge role in educating voters, registering voters, and encouraging individuals to vote – all while being fair and respectful of all candidates, issues and opinions.

    Goodwill® is proud to partner with NonprofitVOTE to help the people we serve participate and vote.

    Laura Walling
    Senior Director of Government Affairs
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