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In all democracies around the world, it’s the people’s right to vote that ultimately determines the outcome of an election.

An informed citizenry is not only desirable from a social standpoint, but it’s also beneficial from a personal point of view.

By staying on top of the latest election and candidate developments, you’ll become a more informed voter and member of society. Knowing the intricacies of candidates’ platforms and the key changes they’d like to make in the country will also help you hold informed political conversations with others when the election really starts to heat up.

To help you stay on top of 2016’s presidential election developments, we’ve compiled the following six resources.

Note: Neither the writer nor MakeUseOf is advocating for any political party in writing this article. All resources listed are given as information outlets only.

270toWin (Web, iPad)

270toWin app

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This is much more than a place to make predictions for the 2016 election, though you can do that here, too. 270toWin allows you to map which states are leaning toward the left, which are leaning toward the right and which are undecided.

It also provides a host of political news updates and information about Senate, House, and Governor Elections.

There’s also an iPad-exclusive app, which helps you find more information about your state’s political history as well as predicted electoral vote counts for 2020 and 2024, and a whole host of factual information. Most features of the app also work without an Internet connection.

Download: 270toWin for the iPad ($0.99)

Rock the Vote (Web)

rock the vote site

Aside from being the largest non-partisan and non-profit organization in the country, Rock the Vote keeps the millennial voting bloc informed and aims to facilitate a clear line of communication with the younger generation.

By visiting this site you’ll find everything you need to know about how to register to vote, how to check your registration status, where to find the nearest polling places come Election Day 5 Non-Partisan Web Tools for Election 2008 5 Non-Partisan Web Tools for Election 2008 With these websites you can keep informed about the election, know where the candidates stand on issues that matter to you, find where to vote in your area, and be a well informed voter. Read More and much more.

The site also includes its Tumblr blog, where you can find thought pieces voting issues such as marriage equality and civil rights. (Check out this list for even more engaging political blogs on Tumblr Tumblr Isn't Just For Photography: 7 News & Political Blogs To Follow Tumblr Isn't Just For Photography: 7 News & Political Blogs To Follow Are you big fans of Tumblr? Here at MakeUseOf, we certainly are. The blogging platform brings together the idea of blogging together with social networking and has become home to some of the most creative,... Read More .)

If you want to take your political education a step further, Rock the Vote also provides many volunteer opportunities for those who want to get actively involved.

Real Clear Politics (Web)

realclearpolitics site

This is a more advanced resource for those looking for up-to-date electoral information. It’ll be an excellent site to watch over the coming months for the latest polling information PollTracker: Follow The Polls Of The 2012 US Election [iOS] PollTracker: Follow The Polls Of The 2012 US Election [iOS] Read More and which candidates are favoured in what areas.

The site also hosts political news videos, which can be useful for anyone who prefers to learn via visuals or who doesn’t have the time to tune in to traditional televisions reports.

New York Times Interactive Tracker (Web)

newyorktimes site

This engaging election tool 8 Election Day Voting Resource Websites: Who, What & Where 8 Election Day Voting Resource Websites: Who, What & Where Read More will help you stay on top of the candidates running for President while also providing you with information about the candidates’ election prep strategies.

The online resource provides a wealth of information with regards to the key factors affecting a candidate’s decision to run, and what they would need to do to win.

The tool does not include independent parties in its calculations, however, so its usefulness is limited to voters who side with either Republicans or Democrats.

Meerkat (iOS and Android)

Meerkat app

This is a free live streaming video app that many politicians are using to get their unfiltered messages across to tech-savvy individuals. It is, however, locked in a battle with Periscope, an app of the same variety.

Meerkat allows users to stream live video footage from their phones and push the content to their followers on Twitter Electionista: Monitor Twitter Trends During Elections Electionista: Monitor Twitter Trends During Elections Read More . Provided you’re following a few political figures and/or journalists, you’re likely to find it an amazing way to stay informed and up to date on the ongoings of the election.

That said, there is one drawback: streamed footage can only be watched live, so if you miss anything you won’t be able to see it after the fact.

Also, if you plan to use Meerkat you need to follow their community guidelines, which include no threats or bullying. All material must be respectful of other users.

Download: Meerkat for iOS (Beta)|Android (Beta)

Ballotpedia (Web)

Ballotpedia site

Ballotpedia offers insights into the Democrats and Republicans running for president, along with individual profiles for each potential candidate. You’ll also notice a clock ticking down the time left until the 2016 presidential election, as well as information about each state’s voting history.

The map midway down the page is an interactive guide on how each state has voted in the past, broken down into percentages of voters who have voted Democratic, Republican, Libertarian and Green. As the 2016 election moves forward, this information will be updated for each state.

You can also check the newsfeed for a range of recently published articles relating to your specific political interests. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you may be able to attend a few of the party conventions nearest to you.

Why Researching Presidential Candidates Matters

Being an informed voter 4 Fact Checking Sites You Should Read Before Voting 4 Fact Checking Sites You Should Read Before Voting Quickly check whether a political statement is fact, fiction or something in between. Fact checking sites won't give you all the answers or tell you what to think, but they they can help you sort... Read More is an important task all members of society should take seriously. It can be tempting to vote straight ballot or vote based on appearances alone (as many U.S. voters do), but taking the time to research candidates’ platforms and political agendas will make you feel more confident about casting your vote 4 Fact Checking Sites You Should Read Before Voting 4 Fact Checking Sites You Should Read Before Voting Quickly check whether a political statement is fact, fiction or something in between. Fact checking sites won't give you all the answers or tell you what to think, but they they can help you sort... Read More .

At the very least, taking the time to follow election developments and the different candidates will help you bond with voters who share similar political views, or intelligently explain your views to voters with different ones.

Do you have a favorite election resource not mentioned here? Tell us about it in the comments section below.

Image Credit: Public Domain Archive

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