With Election Day around the corner, politics and civic engagement are at the forefront of everyone’s minds. But there is more to democracy than voting. People can engage with and make a difference in their communities through several different ways.
Here are five ways to be civically engaged:
Research, read, and attend events to learn about the political system, elections, candidates, and the issues. It is important to ask questions and find resources to help with the process. Taking the time to learn new information allows for voices to be heard and impacts to be made in the community. Informed voters are most effective in elections. Getting educated is the easiest way to become civically engaged.
It takes a community of people to guide and support when taking action, from building a park to paving new roads. People cannot make changes or accomplish goals alone. Taking action and working together is a great way to become civically engaged. From joining a march or rally to writing a letter to an elected official, all action makes an impact. Other ways to take action include attending public meetings, give public comments, meet with local representatives, lobby on the Hill, donate, or volunteer.
There are other ways to be civically engaged, but voting has the most impact. There is a huge difference in being eligible to vote and actually casting a ballot. When fewer people turn up at the polls, each vote counts more. If the political climate is not ideal, or changes could be made in the community, voting is the action to take. From voting new people into office or approving propositions in the state, voting is essential for civic engagement.
Know who represents the issues and how to contact those people. Treating elected officials like humans and not robots is key to building long-term relationships. Elected officials represent the people, meaning relationships can be used to impact future decisions. Creating positive connections allow for a better future where people work together and find the best solutions.
Run for Something
Run for office at school, in an organization, or in government. Becoming a delegate is also a great way to be civically engaged. Volunteering or running a political campaign dips a toe into the political waters. From boards to commissions, those who take the time to make a difference truly impact the world.
No matter the level of involvement, one person can impact the world of politics. Civic engagement is a key piece of everyone’s lives, so get out there and get involved. For more information on ways to get involved at SUU, contact the Leavitt Center.