I don't know how anyone else does it, but I sit down with the voter guide, LA Times, Green Party LA website (that's my party), online progressive voter's guide--then I open every pertinent website in a series of tabs. Every measure, nominee, judge, etc. Every. Pertinent. Website. Then I grab a random bottle of rot-gut and spend the next several hours working my way through the ballot. It's my system, and it works for me.
I was a Republican from 1992 'till 2008 and came from a long line of proud Republicans that vote with their heart (my Grandfather both embraced the "n-word" and thought Jessie Jackson should'a won in 1984). I'm a progressive voter. I'm not red-team/blue-team. I'm probably not going to vote based on who is the oldest and whitest.