10 Ways to Become Politically Involved as a Young Person
Currently many young people are getting strong opinions on both sides of the aisle about their political beliefs. People often turn to social media to voice their political opinions out there, but are unsure how else to get involved. Young people have so many opportunities to get involved in politics, especially at the local level. Here’s some ways that you can get involved in politics:
1. Don’t think of politics only at the national level
So much is happening politically at the local level. Ruth Pannill is the President of Young Democrats at UGA and she works on an election campaign of a candidate for Athens-Clarke County Commissioner. She wants to stress that it’s really important to remember that national politics is not all the politics. Local politics affects your day-to-day life more often, and it’s much easier to be heard on the local level.
2. Make sure you vote in all elections
The most effective way to have your voice heard is to vote. If you feel that your representative is not listening to the people who they are representing then vote them out of office. On the other hand if you if you are pleased by their performance you can vote to keep them in. The general primary election, nonpartisan general election, and special election date is schedule on May 22, so remember to cast your vote in these local elections besides just presidential ones.
3. Change your voting registration to the place you are currently living
Especially for college students your voting registration is probably for your permanent address. It’s so easy to change your address to where you are currently living, and this doesn’t require you to change your permanent address on your driver’s license. This way you can be part of the political process of the area that more directly affects you. The Georgia MyVoter Page allows you to easily change your voting location to where you are currently living.
4. Start by exploring the issues and figuring out what you care about
There are so many different topics to be interested in when it comes to politics. If you really want to get invested into politics then Pannill recommends to start by exploring the different issues and learning which ones you are particularly passionate about. iSideWith is a good starting place to look at many different issues that are debated over.
Log onto bit.ly/athensvote for a map that tells you every single voting district you are apart of for Athens-Clarke county. You simply input your address and the map pinpoints your location and tells you which districts you are in for the county. To find out who your representatives are you can go to https://www.usa.gov/elected-
6. Call your representatives to tell them what you want them to change, as well as what they are doing well
According to Pannill, the second most effective way to have you voice heard (besides voting) is to call your representative. You can also email or write a letter, but calling is often more effective. When something is going on in any level of the government that you disapprove of, call your representative. Pannill says that it’s just as important to call your representative with positive feedback when they are doing things you really like. The person to answer your call, however, will most likely not be the actual representative, but someone on their staff. You should just give your name, some residential information like your city and zip code so they know you are part of the district they represent, which representative you want the message to be passed along to, and then say a little about what specific topic you support or disapprove.
7. Stay informed
Stay alert with what’s happening in all levels of government. Like Pannill says, it’s not all about national politics. It’s just as important to know what’s going on at the local level as well. Some ways to do this are to find a local and national news outlet you trust and follow your representatives on social media.
8. Volunteer on local political campaigns
Another way to get involved in politics is to volunteer on a local campaign. Currently, local candidates have until March 9 to announce their candidacy for the elections coming up in May. Pannill said she could think of 10 campaigns alone off the top of her head that need volunteers in their campaign efforts. She said that you can be highly involved in the campaign or occasionally volunteer for a few hours, but they are almost always looking for help. She said almost all campaigns will take volunteers with little to no political involvement. Find a candidate that you think supports your beliefs, find their contact information on their website, and then reach out saying that you would like to get involved.
9. Go to events
Going to different political events is a great way to understand the issues better and find out which candidates represent your beliefs the best. There are lots of groups on campus and around the community that hold events. Groups on campus such as UGA College Republicans and Young College Democrats give details about different events on their Facebook pages. Candidates will also post on their websites and social media platforms about events they will be holding and attending as well.
10. Encourage others to voice their opinions by reaching out to their representatives as well
Often times one call or email to a representative will not change much, but Pannill says if you are calling and other people are as well, that it does gets noticed. The more people who call the bigger the impact, and Pannill says generally the more local of an office it is the less people that have to call to get noticed. She says when people voice their opinion to a representative’s office they generally use a tally system to keep track of what issues are getting the most feedback. So, if you encourage other people to get involved in politics as well it can really create an impact on a particular matter.
By: Brittany Stocus