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7 Ways to Get Involved in Local Politics


It’s great to be knowledgeable about national politics, but it’s just as important to know what is going on in your own community. Local politics are personal and can have a direct impact on your life. Here are seven ways that you can get more involved.

First, volunteering for candidates at the polls is always a great opportunity during election season. Find out who is running for local positions and conduct research on each candidate. If you find one that you want to support, reach out and see if you can help them campaign. (Candidates rarely turn down campaign help!) An act as simple as holding a sign across the street can show that people in the community care about that candidate.

Second, hold registration drives at your school or a local college. The younger generation can have a huge impact on politics, but we can only create change if people get out and vote. Setting up a registration booth for seniors at your high school is an easy and effective way to register new voters. If you talk to students at the local college, you might be surprised at how many of them are not registered to vote. Most of the time, young people aren’t registered because they aren’t sure how to do it, or don’t have the time. Be sure to inform new voters when the next elections are and encourage them to go to the polls. Drop the completed forms off at the Courthouse and you’re good to go!

Third, attend the City Council meetings. Most cities have meetings twice a month at City Hall. The meetings are open to the public. Stopping by every couple of months is a great way to stay informed on what is happening in your community, and what issues are being dealt with. This will teach you a lot about how local government functions and the different roles involved.

Fourth, follow your local officials, news sources, and organizations online. It sounds so simple, but it is very important. Staying up to date on recent events and policies can aid you in getting involved and staying informed. You will learn about upcoming rallies, events, and meetings in which you may want to participate. This can also connect you to other groups of people who are passionate about the same issues as you.

Fifth, reach out to your local officials! If you want to learn more about a certain position, department, or organization, find out if you can job shadow or spend some time with someone who can teach you. Spending the day learning from a local official can inspire you and help lead you in your future endeavors. Some cities have youth councils, where a group of high school students start projects and act to make the city better. Get in touch with your Mayor, and see if your city has a youth council. If not, find out if you can start one! Serving on a youth council is a great experience and plugs you into the city departments and community.

Sixth, join school or local political organizations. Most high schools have Young Democrats and Young Republicans. Joining political organizations can open the door to many opportunities. Holding meetings to discuss politics with your peers, attending Young Voter workshops, and volunteering in the community are great ways to get involved. Many schools offer students the opportunity to page at the State Capital through these clubs. Paging is an incredible experience that gives you a deeper look into politics. If your school doesn’t offer it, get in touch with your local Representatives and Senators.

Obviously, if you are 18 or older, VOTE! It is so easy to forget to vote in small, local elections, but these elections determine who is running cities. Take the time to cast your ballot and have a say in the future of your community. Politicians will not care about what young people want until they start voting. If they don’t need the youth’s vote, they will continue to cater towards older, voting crowds.

Although local politics may not be headline news, it is still important to stay informed. There may be a policy you are passionate about, an issue you want to support, or a change that you want to see implemented. The best way to start is by getting educated and contacting local officials. It is very powerful when the youth get involved and care about what is happening in politics.


Anna Claire Carter, Jonesboro, 12th, @annaclairecarter


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