Beyond Your Vote: How to Get Personally Involved!
By Pat Myers, director, Collegewide Student Services
October 5, 2012
It is not too late to get involved in the election process! There is nothing so energizing as working on a campaign or on issues you care about. How? There are several ways to go about it. First, decide what your issue or who your candidate is and how much time during the next few weeks you are willing to give to this cause. Once you have made your decision, go to the candidate’s website or find an online interest group.
A candidate’s website should include contact numbers or a link to volunteer information. You can usually sign up online. It is best to create a new email address for this purpose and be ready for the email onslaught. Do not use your work email!
You will get many requests for donations – and they are annoying – but you don’t have to give, and let’s face it, raising money is what enables candidates to get their message out. Just be patient and keep digging or wait for that email welcoming you to the world of volunteers.
Here are a few opportunities usually available to volunteers in campaigns:
- working the phones – the campaign will ask you to make reminder calls to registered voters in their party, usually in the swing states (those states that are neither red nor blue – i.e., Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida)
- attend election events in your own communities. For example, there are often gatherings on debate nights. Attending is a great way to hook up with other people interested in the same issues – and they often have ideas of how you can become more involved
- signing up to be part of the feet on the ground effort – visiting neighborhoods and reminding people to vote on Election Day or standing on corners with signs
- contact a labor union; they usually have an organized effort in the presidential campaigns and welcome volunteers
These are just a few ideas. I have personally worked the last two presidential elections in Pennsylvania and Ohio. It has been exciting to put my efforts into something I truly believe in. I have met some awesome people and felt like I did my part to move the country forward. But, once every four years is not enough! Look for an article in January on how you can become involved in the political process in an ongoing way!
To learn about more resources for getting started, look at a hand-out at http://www.esc.edu/media/ocgr/otherimages/Voter-Project-Handout-1.pdf