How to Get Involved in Local Politics

January 22, 2013

Everyone these days seems to pay at least some attention to the national political scene, but not nearly as many people express an interest in local politics. However, local politics is just as important, and maybe even more so, to each person’s life. You local government policies and leaders will shape how you live your daily life, so getting involved in local politics may be a smart thing for you to do.

There are many ways you can get involved in politics on the local level. What you choose to do will obviously be based on your desires, abilities, and priorities. Here are some suggestions that should get you going down the right path.

Vote

The simplest and easiest way to let your voice be heard is to vote in an upcoming election. There is no better way to make sure your opinion is heard, and it is your right to help pick the people leading your city or town! Many times people will vote in the presidential elections, and then not in the local elections. Make sure you vote during any election you can to have the maximum impact. Local elections sometimes take place on off years so make sure you know when they will be happening.

Donate

If you would like to help a candidate win an election, consider donating to their campaign. Candidates need every bit of help they could possibly get financially, as political campaigns are often very expensive to run successfully. Your gift, large or small, will be very much appreciated and might help win the candidate an office. Most of the cash will likely go towards helping publicize the candidate in some manner, like through signs, radio spots, or maybe television advertisements. In today’s world, they may also use online marketing.

Volunteer For a Campaign

Campaigns are always asking for volunteer help. Contact campaign offices to uncover how you could possibly get involved. Some of the very common volunteer roles needed are:

  • Administrative: These are generally where the most help is needed. While they may be somewhat mindlessly uninteresting, they also call for no specific skills, so you can do them regardless of your background! This is stuffing envelopes, answering balloons, or setting up signs, or any other type of administrative task the campaign needs.
  • Organization: If you have experience with leadership and previous campaigns, you may be a good person to assist organize the political campaign at some level. This includes things like finance and marketing.
  • Communicators: Oftentimes campaigns will have groups of people that just go around and consult people about their particular candidate, or encourage individuals to vote. Consider being one of these people.

Volunteer During the Election

Elections also need a great deal of volunteer staff to run smoothly themselves. You may get to count ballots, monitor voting procedures, assist registering voters, or many other tasks. Contact your local election offices to find out where you can help. You can also be one of the cool people which shouts “Joe Smith has voted!” or “Susie Scott has voted!” as loud as possible for every voter.

Ask Others to Vote

We’ve all received a knock on the door or a phone call from someone requesting us to vote. So why not make those calls and visits yourself? It is a powerful way to get more and more people out to the polls, which is really among the best ways you can help contribute to the actual political system. The greater numbers of people that vote, the better the system works, and the more honest and fair the final results are.

Run for Office

Of course, the ultimate way to get involved in local politics is to run for office. This isn’t a decision you take on lightly, but it may just be for you. If you like politics, and don’t mind a lot of the negatives that come along with the political scene (like a uniquely public life as well as instability of work), you may just want to get started building a political career. Read our guide on how to become a politician to see how to get started down this journey.

There are many other ways that you can begin to get involved in local politics, but the above ideas should serve as a good starting point. Explore the site a little more if you want to find out more about getting involved in the American political system.

Category: Getting Involved

Get the Book