How to Get Involved in Politics – The Five Need-To-Know Essentials

June 1 - Erin Loos Cutraro

Now more than ever, it's important to know how you can be involved in local politics. Your vote is your voice and you can use it to impact real change on the issues you find within your local community, all the way to the top of federal government. Here are some great ways to take action, be informed, and get involved to make a difference!

Find out who your representatives are.

There are dozens of resources on the internet dedicated to helping constituents find out who their representatives are, what their platforms and issues include, and who their opponents are in upcoming elections. - Breaks down your representatives from the very top of the federal government down to local county commissioners based on your home address and zip code. - Lists U.S. Senators and House Representatives as well as State Senators and House Representatives and your local State Board of Education Members.

For most major cities, local elected city officials are listed on the city’s website under Council or City Council. A Google search for city council members in your city should produce accurate results.

Know the issues - Find out what issues are relevant to your area

Once you have found out who each of your representatives are, you can begin doing the research about their platforms and where they stand on the issues that mean the most to you.

These can usually be found on the representatives own website under the “Issues” or “About” section. These issues are usually broken down into sub-topics including their stances on the economy, education, healthcare, jobs, government accountability, and many others. If you cannot find a website for a representative you are interested in learning more about, take a look at website of their affiliated party and see where the party stands on those issues. Usually, representatives follow the same ideals as the party platform.

Make sure you, your friends, and your family are registered to vote! And they actually find their way to the polls! - You can check on your voter status here! - You can register to vote, confirm, or change your voter registration here. Additionally, this website has everything you need to know about voting in different states, absentee voting and the process of absentee voting, overseas and military voting, registering to vote in languages other than English, and everything else you need to know about the voting process.

Find an issue or a candidate that you can be passionate about personally.

Once you have found an issue or issues that you are passionate about and a representative that gets you excited about politics, volunteer to help them run their campaigns! Many campaigns are run on mostly unpaid volunteer work by people who are inspired by the movement stirred up by a candidate. Being part of the organizing process always pays off, especially when your candidate wins! Usually volunteer opportunities include:

  • Knocking on doors
  • Making calls
  • Sending texts
  • Entering data
  • Translating materials from English to other languages
  • Research
  • Answering emails
  • Social media
  • Shooting/editing video
  • Photography
  • Provide or locate venues for campaign events
  • Donate office space for a campaign office
  • Organize events in nearby cities
  • Conducting voter registration

And many of these activities can be done from home at your own convenience!

Play the long game.

Politics is constantly changing, make sure you and your loves ones remain current with the ever-changing political climate. Find reliable news sources that you can trust. If you see something shared that doesn’t seem quite right, conduct some quick fact checking research. Check out the following unbiased fact-checking resources.

Today's Woman to Watch is Erin Loos Cutraro, the Founder and CEO of She Should Run. In 2011, she founded this nonpartisan organization to increase the number of women running for office in the United States. To learn more Erin and She Should Run click here!

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