Getting involved in your own backyard

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My Civic Workout: Your heart is a muscle the size of your fist. Keep loving, Keep fighting.
October 13, 2017
Sometimes here at MCW, we get caught up in national politics, but much of the work that goes into creating a functional social safety net happens closer to home. Education, housing, park space, and even environmental compliance are all handled at the town, city, and state levels. Today we’re talking about upcoming local and state elections and how to get involved.
5 Minute Workout
Voter registration is going to be the big issue for the foreseeable future, including in local elections. What if voters were automatically registered at 18 instead of having to proactively register? We have the technology; now all we need is the political will. Click below to sign onto the League of Women Voters’ effort to get Automatic Voter Registration at the national level.
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10 Minute Workout
Special elections are on the menu all over the country, and there is almost certainly one near you. Check out Flippable’s comprehensive list of upcoming special elections, pick the one closest to you, and sign on to get involved in the campaign as (you choose) a donor, an in-person volunteer, a phone caller, or a social media booster.
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30 Minute Workout
Do you have an employer? Are YOU an employer? Do you want your employees to get involved in civics, register to vote, and generally be better citizens? Sign up (or lobby your HR and CEO team to sign up) with the TurboVote Challenge. It is a totally nonpartisan effort to help companies “develop programs rooted in universal civic values, strengthening employee engagement and relationships with communities and customers.”
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Second Wind
The most effective (and nerve-wracking) way to get involved in local politics is to seek elected office yourself. Slate profiled four first time candidates who ran, and won:
“You have to look at what the needs are in your community. What is your message? What are your values? And how do you get that across to your fellow residents in your district? I knew that employment was very important; I knew that public schools were very important; and I understood the political climate I found myself in.”

Inspired by your Second Wind reading to run for elected office? Here are some groups that can help.

Camp Wellstone hosts training programs across the country, and also serves as a network for progressive candidates.

EMILY’s List caters to helping pro-choice Democratic women get elected. You can get involved in their Run to Win effort either as a candidate or as a supporter.

Run For Something encourages progressives under 35 to seek office, and partners with some of the other organizations on this list in its candidate support program.

She Should Run aims to get 250,000 women running for office by 2030, and takes the start-up incubator model to political campaigns.

For a more comprehensive list of organizations dedicated to helping first-timers run, check out this guide from Slate.
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