The New 2024 Voting Guide for Independent Thinkers and Voters

Well, here we are again, another four years has passed, and another presidential election is upon us in the US.

Yay, right?

If you’re like me right now, you’re only so excited about the whole thing. What you really want is less “us and them” and instead, more respect and actual peaceful human-ing.

So today I bring you this thoughtful voting guide for independent thinkers who dare to stray from the blame train.

You’re looking for something that’s not laced with fear, anger, finger-pointing, and dread. You’re looking for the kind of voting guide that an independent thinker like yourself can nod along with as you do the work it takes to figure out for your own darn self who it is you’re casting your precious American votes for.

But first, let’s stop for a moment of appreciation.

Let’s begin our little voting journey by thanking the heavens that the POTUS isn’t the only box to check come November 5, 2024.

Let’s thank the stars that the rest of the choices we’re making are hella more important in our everyday lives than the POTUS slot is. In fact, the further down the ballot we go, the more directly our very own everyday life is affected by our vote.

So the as-usual weird and even disappointing POTUS race aside, there are gracious plenty other people running for office, some of whom you may even know personally in your local election.

And heads up, depending on your specific location, your ballot may have thirty or forty races on it. We’re talking about a lot of choices to make and boxes to check here, so here we go!

Roll up your sleeves as we roll out your voting guide

And pour yourself a drink, too.

I’m gonna get you ready to figure out who the hell to vote for on or before Tuesday, November 5th.

What’s that, you say, I’m not going to tell you who I think you should vote for?!? Nope, I’m not.

I’m just going to help you sort through how to decide for yourself. Unique, right? Well that’s independent thinking and voting for you.

I’m not going to tell you to vote for this person or that one, or to vote a straight party ticket or not to vote for so-and-so, because I trust that you have the capacity to think things through just the way you want to rather than being led along by lil’ ol’ bloggers like me or talking bobbleheads on TV and the internet or smarty pants writers speaking very well indeed in respectable, erudite places.

As well, even if you’re roaming the internet wilds in alternative, off-road, unconventional, even uncharted and truly independent territory, I’m still going to encourage you to think for your very own self. Why’s that, you may ask, when there are loads of smart people whose guidance you trust?

Well, dear and shiny independent thinker and voter, that’s because I trust your brain just as much as someone else’s brain, and you can, too.

Sure, let someone do a bunch of research, and go ahead and follow along with some talk and discussion. But don’t let up on your spidey sense. Don’t hand your brain over to someone out there dazzling you or anyone else with whatever persuasive techniques they may be using.

Because even genuine those who are genuine are simply ordinary humans like you and me. They may have clever brains indeed, but they don’t have your brain—so you use your brain to make decisions, not someone else’s.

Now, in the interest of justice, equality, world peace, and sexy stuff like that, I’m going to give you some helpful info you can put to use in that voting booth come late October when early voting commences, and on the ever-blessed election day itself, Tuesday, November 5th.

(By the way, it’s my belief that Americans are by and large a live and let live crowd and don’t actually want to be all eat up with tyrannical, aristocratic, corporate, religious, or just run of the mill batshit crazy rulers. But owing to the fact that Americans are distressingly susceptible to the almighty boob tube and its counterparts like the New York Times and similar rags and media (online or otherwise), our ability to think this shit through remains mega compromised. So be ever vigilant in doing your own damned thinking and voting—your ability to think independently is important, voting guide or not!)

First things first, shiny citizen, are you registered to vote?

If you’re not sure, go here to find out—just use the dropdown menu to select your state.

And shoot, the way things are all topsy turvy anymore, just click on that link and look yourself up anyway, even if you’d swear on a stack of taco trucks that you’re registered to vote.

Do that right now. Scroll up ⬆️ two paragraphs, click the link, and use the dropdown menu to select your state and check on your voter registration status.

Now register to vote if you’re not registered

If you’re not registered to vote, go here to register sooner than later.

A few states will allow you to register on election day, but most don’t go for seat-of-your-pants behavior like that. And some states even require your registration to be postmarked well before election day.

So check on this!

If you aren’t registered, or if there’s a problem with your registration, handle it right this red-hot second.

Click here to find out just who is eligible to vote, by the way.

And if for whatever reason you aren’t able to vote in this election, you can—and maybe should—nevertheless be conscious of the stress going around due to this periodic high-stress national ritual.

In other words, decide now to be a good and useful human through election season, whether or not you’re participating in the blessed event itself, because hey, independent thinkers, like independent thinking voters, are a prize to have around in this big human family.

Decide how you’ll vote—early, absentee, by mail, or on election day

Think about this now—don’t let it get away from you.

Follow the prompts here to find out your state’s deadlines and requirements for absentee voting. I’m talking about requirements such as any paperwork you need to fill out, deadlines, things you have to mail, etc. Don’t take any chances here.

You can click here to find out about early voting and voting by mail in your state. And hey, each state does this its own way, so make no assumptions!

If you’re overseas, click here to find out how to vote from abroad.

If you’ll be in college on election day, click here to find out what your state requires of you. (Just click on your state on the map!)

And by the way, even if you voted early or absentee or from overseas or from campus last time, don’t assume that any of this is the same this time—click on the links and do your own research!

Look at your sample ballot—here’s how to find it

This is immensely helpful!

Your sample ballot gives you a list of which candidates and what issues are going to be on your specific ballot, which is determined by your actual address. Your ballot will include all the national races, yes, but also the candidates and issues you’re voting on right in your own town, district, ward, precinct, and more.

There is simply no better way to prepare yourself to vote independently rather than by the luck of the draw than looking up the candidates and issues on your ballot beforehand.

I mean, nothing’s worse than looking at your ballot for the first time right there in the voting booth and not knowing who the hell most of those people are. Or sitting there with the ballot in your hand, knowing it has to be in the mail by so-and-so time tomorrow morning!

Go here to see who will be on your ballot, but keep in mind this will be far more accurate in the fall when final ballots are settled on much closer to election day in November. If you’re given the option, click on “detailed” in order to see as much information as is available on your specific ballot at this time.

In the fall, closer to election day, go here to find your specific state or territory’s board of elections to get the most accurate and up-to-date representation of the ballot you’ll be using to actually vote.

Be sure to poke around till you locate the link where you can see what your ballot will look like. You may have to go through your registration status to find a link to your sample ballot—every state’s website is unique, and some not in a good way, but them’s the breaks.

Important tip! Once you have your sample ballot in hand, print it and take it with you into the voting booth. You will not remember your notes and research once you’re standing there!

And another note! If you’re voting in person, you have to vote in the state where you’re registered, and in most cases, at your particular polling place. Make sure you check ahead of time for your polling place.

With your sample ballot in hand, here’s what to do next

Don’t worry right this second about that first item on your ballot.

We’ll come back to that—there’s no shortage of info on the usual shit show that is the headliner/POTUS race.

And frankly, there are more important races to consider, or at least equally important.

Look at the just-below-the-top races

You’ll likely see US Senate and US House (“Congress”) next on your ballot.

This is where the rubber meets the road, shiny independent voter—the people who earn these slots will very much determine how the next four+ years go for ordinary Americans.

So go here to see who your current congress people are. As a reminder, these are the representatives who are doled out according to your state’s population. Nose around here while you’re at it.

And go here to see your current senators. Each state has two senators. Again, nose around a little! It’s fascinating stuff, actually.

Go here to see all the offices up for grabs in 2024 in your location, US territories included.

And for real, the House and Senate races are ultimately more important in our everyday life than the top-of-the-ballot attention hog list of presidential candidates. These are some of the people you actually have a chance at speaking to.

And let me clarify something, by the way—there are US Senators and Congress-people, and there are also state-level senators and congress-people. It’s confusing, but now that you know, you can be less confused.

It may be time for you to fix yourself another drink. Or eat something. Or smoke something. Or all of the above, totally up to you.

Moving on!

There will be specific candidates to vote on in your location—everything from Governor to school board to judges

I keep pointing to this site, but it’s a wealth of info, so go here to see allllll the races in your location. On the left (on a computer) you’ll see “2024 Elections” and a dropdown menu that lists beaucoups of offices and the candidates trying to fill them.

With your sample ballot in hand (see above), just click on a category and scroll to find the people on your ballot.

On your sample ballot, you’ll see some of the less glamorous races closer to the end of your ballot. There are probably no TV commercials or billboards for these candidates, but printing out your sample ballot will have you prepared to Google these lovely people. Facebook actually comes in handy for the very-local candidates such as those running for school board or even something you’ve never heard of such as “Commissioner of Cozy Coupes” or whatever.

You’ll also see the judicial races well below the star act at the top. And unless you’re in a lawyerly family or you’ve done your share of running from the law, you probably won’t recognize the majority of these judges.

Well, the deal is, judges are officially impartial and nonpartisan, but just like in a divorce settlement, the middle isn’t actually in the middle, so it helps to research the judicial candidates to see if their brand of neutral matches up with yours.

Click here to see the judicial candidates in your location.

Seriously, don’t wing it on this. Judges are a big deal—some of these end up being the ones who are eventually tapped for the US Supreme Court, and obviously we want the cream, not the scum, to rise to the top.

As with all of this, you need to look up the candidates. The big names may have a nice website, but don’t be swayed even if they do. As for judicial candidates (and all other candidates) without a slick website (or a website at all), keep searching for info. The internet is your buddy on this project.

Special votes like referendums, amendments, and bonds

On any given ballot there may be additional decisions for you to make on anything from amendments to state constitutions to special votes on spending, but these votes show up especially in a presidential election year.

Go here to see what your location has going on at this moment, and remember to check back closer to the actual election on November 5th. Next to not knowing who the hee-haw half the people on your ballot are, this has got the be just as maddening—not knowing that some issue you hadn’t been paying attention to is now requiring your opinion.

So scroll and look for your location so you can be ready to exercise your voice as an independent, informed, and prepared voter on the entire ballot come November 5th.

Finally, here’s how to cast your smart, independent vote for the President and Vice-President

Back to the weird-as-always POTUS race.

As we all well know by now because the news and media are largely overcome with blame-y, angry, fear-driven, disturn-your-sleep energy anymore, the top slot on our 2024 ballot is critical this year!

That was sarcasm font, in case you didn’t see that on your device.

It’s just that no matter what we do, we always end up in an even more desperate situation than the last time we voted for a president.

Are you sick of it? I’m sick of it. But here we are. And because I believe we live and breathe as one human body and one human family, I believe that our collective energy and focus are what lead us back to this crappy place each time.

I know it’s easy to point our fingers at bad guys and evil beings, at oligarchs and “the ruling elite.” And yeah, they exist—I don’t deny that.

What I’m saying, though—and yes, I realize this is a long shot and a hippified batshit crazy thought—is that we have to become who we want to be in this world. We as individuals have immense power to make the differences we want in the world, and not just by being activists (which is fine), but by being really good humans. Which, to me, means getting in touch with the spirit of the divine that we each have access to.

But again, here we are facing another weird ballot where we feel just about powerless. And honestly, the system we’re using is rigged. We all know we have two choices because it’ll be the Republican or the Democrat who wins the job.

But we hope and hope. And we keep trying to right the system. And that has to come from our energy and not just our action.

I’ve gone off the rails. Yes, I’m bringing the divine into this. Go ahead and get a third helping of whatever it is you’re participating in by now.

Now, back to the hands-on stuff.

So go here to see the myriad candidates running for “leader of the free world.” Scroll and scroll, because this right here is fascinating.

You’ll see, of course, the Democratic incumbent and the Republican challenger, and you’ll see all manner of independents, including RFK, Jr. and Cornel West, and beacoups of others.

It’s definitely an entertaining read!

But really, it’s kind of comforting, at least to me, to see the human spirit is alive and kicking. And that there are independent thinkers out there who want to challenge our monopolized two-party system, even against all odds.

I mean, I’m betting we all have a better chance of winning successive mega-millions lotteries than these independent candidates have of winning the 2024 race for President of the United States. I therefore have zero advice on how to check your box on this part of your ballot. It’s actually kind of heartbreaking, really, that we still haven’t figured this out.

But here we are again.

So get in touch with the divine and infinite part of you. Understand that we’re humans traveling this journey together as a connected human family.

Begin to meditate. Learn to be present from Eckhart Tolle perhaps. Find some truly independent thinkers and peace lovers in the world.

And choose your vote for the POTUS as best you can.

So a word about writing in a vote.

If you plan to write in a candidate, check your state’s election site to be sure your vote will actually be counted.

While you may be able to physically write someone in, each state has its own way of handling which write-in votes will even be counted.

In the majority of states and territories a candidate is required to register in advance in order to qualify as a write-in candidate, and the last time I checked only seven states allow un-registered write-ins. Here’s a little information about write-ins.

In many states a write-in at the POTUS level for anyone other than the approved parties (again, search your location’s board of elections site for this!) won’t be accepted this year unless you have it on good authority that the candidate you want to write in registered whatever predetermined date.

So if you write in Michael Jordan or Harry Potter or Gwyneth Paltrow or the Easter Bunny in many states, your vote simply won’t count.

BUT! Your whole ballot (probably—check your state!) won’t get thrown out, though—just that vote.

(And if any of those made-up candidates did in fact properly follow the registration procedure, please send me documentation, and I’ll make a correction.)

Basically, I’m saying that if you want to write in Jo Shmoe and his running mate Betty Boop, you might want to make sure your vote will count. Otherwise, choose from those on your ballot, or write in someone you know is qualified for a write-in vote in your state.

Or skip it if your conscience says to do so.

Just be aware that write-ins are in no way a sure vote. Do your research—it’s hazy territory.

You don’t have to fill out everything—this is not the SAT

By the way, when you see that someone is running unopposed for an office, you don’t have to vote for them just because they’re on your ballot.

Unless they tell you otherwise when you go to vote, you can leave certain races blank.

This is true especially if you’ve gone over your sample ballot and figured out ahead of time who everyone is, and have determined that, say, Roger Rabbit, who’s running unopposed for Commissioner of Cozy Coupes in your location is a jackass, well, you can leave that race blank and thereby show Mr. Rabbit a little piece of your mind.

A couple more notes

If you’re all kinds of lost or just have a quick question, call your local election board. They’re a wealth of info!

If you haven’t found your local board of elections, search the internet (you know… good ol’ Google), or just click a button and ask Siri or Alexa or whatever digital lady is living in your phone for the answer.

Heads up, it may be pretty difficult to get your state officials on the phone, so try your local office first.

And here’s a fabulous tip: If you live in a big town or city and it’s complicated to get a live human on the phone even at the local office, call the election board of a smaller town in your state. They’ll have the same info. (Works for the DMV, too! You’re welcome!)

There you have it, you smart and independent thinker and voter, your 2024 voting guide

Thanks for sticking around to the end of this. It’s a big year, as presidential election years always are.

While it’s mighty frustrating to look at the ballot from the top down and therefore get your knickers in a knot of concern, it’s the state and local races that matter most in our everyday life. So spend more energy near the middle and the bottom of your ballot in order to side-step the all-or-nothing feeling that the POTUS race seems to stir up.

I know it’s easy to think your vote doesn’t matter, but nevertheless, shiny citizen, it’s your precious American vote to do with as you please. And as an independent thinker and therefore voter, you don’t owe your vote to anyone but to your human family as you yourself see fit.

Consider this information my gift to you as you go forth to vote wisely and intentionally. So prepare yourself to vote, and go out there and be the change you want to see.

Yes, it’s countercultural to say No, thanks! to anger, fear, and blame, but that’s just the sort of thing independent thinkers and voters do.

I hope this voting guide for independent thinkers does indeed support you in thinking for yourself, and vote your own mind and conscious, not someone else’s, mine included.

May we each carry our divine wisdom and peace-loving souls around with us as often as we can remember to. May we make a habit of it! And may we respect each other right now and in the upcoming months and in the aftermath of November 5th, even when—and especially when—we disagree, even a whole lot.

See you at the polls, shiny citizen.

cover image for The Shiny Butter Blog's free Feel Good in a Crazy World Starter Guid

Dare to feel good—get the free guide:


4 thoughts on “The New 2024 Voting Guide for Independent Thinkers and Voters”

    • Aw, I really appreciate you saying that. I’ve come a long way from the shouting and head-bashing I tried out for a while—and it sure is a load off to just offer help and then trust people. Grateful right back at you.

    • Hahaha, a little extra sumpin’ can really help with over-the-top things like this. And thank you so very much for the compliment. All the shiny best to you.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.