November 6 is fast approaching and, our Voter Guide & Candidate Questionnaire, is back for a third time to help you navigate what is shaping up to be one of the hardest fought elections of our lifetimes.

With the help of generous sponsorship from AARP Connecticut and the expertise of tireless Civic Web Developer Matt Zagaja, we built the site two years ago as a public service and have been improving on the original each year.

Our goal is to fill the growing void of information about our elections and to help candidates get their policy ideas out to their constituents.

This is necessary because today there are even more towns in Connecticut that no longer have the benefit of a full- or even part-time reporter covering day-to-day news or interviewing candidates for public office with tough questions. Walking into the ballot box without being able to place a face with any of the names on the ballot is just a bad place to be, but that’s where we are today. Research suggests that this leads to party-line voting and may be contributing to polarization in public discourse.

Information is a crucial piece of the puzzle in a representative democracy, and on Tuesday, Nov. 6, voters will go to the polls to choose between more than 400 people to serve in our state legislature, constitutional offices, and as our congressional delegates in Washington. Once elected, they will make crucial decisions about how to allocate billions of tax dollars. Their votes will impact our path forward as a society on policy issues like education, healthcare, equality, and anything else that’s important to you.

And since voter turnout in these elections is typically much lower than in presidential election years, your votes are likely to have a greater impact as well. We want to help you make informed decisions in the ballot box.

Click to see our upgraded home page showing notifications of which candidates were recently endorsed and which survey responses have been updated. (ctnewsjunkie)

As such, we are making use of new technology to gather information directly from the candidates themselves. We set up, loaded in the latest list of candidates, and have invited all of them to fill out their profiles and to answer specific policy questions about issues facing Connecticut and our country. From their answers, you should get an idea of who they are and why they are running.

If you like their ideas and want to support a candidate or candidates, you’ll have the option to register with an email address and click to endorse each of them. And these candidate profiles and completed surveys that you’ll be looking at are designed to be shared on social media platforms. Share away and start a discussion among your friends. Help introduce them to the candidates you support. And please, keep it civil. There’s no need to argue. Agree to disagree if you must, and move on. Life is too short.

We also want to thank AARP Connecticut for coming onboard as our inaugural sponsor for this project and as a sponsor once again this year. You’ll notice that two of the questions in our survey came from AARP Connecticut and are noted as such — AARP represents the interests of quite a few voters in Connecticut and around the country and we’re grateful for their help.

Candidates — if you or your campaign manager haven’t received an email from our system inviting you to fill out your questionnaire, get in touch and we’ll get you set up to complete the questionnaire as soon as possible.

—Christine Stuart & the CTNewsJunkie crew