Although local elections lack the prominence of presidential races, they are a great platform for nonprofits to begin or to expand their voter engagement efforts. Participation tends to be lower in local races because many voters don’t understand the offices, know who the candidates are, or because there is less campaigning. Your nonprofit can fill this void and raise participation rates by focusing on voter education. Here are four reasons to get involved with a local election this year:

  1. Knowledge and Power for Your Community. Comprehensive voter education can build both knowledge among and power for your constituents. Empowering your community in local elections can encourage other civic habits in addition to benefiting your organization. 
  2. Fewer Voters and Greater Impact. Because fewer voters cast ballots in local elections, your potential to impact the election is enormous. Registering and turning out even a small number of voters can dramatically change the landscape of an election. 
  3. Greater Access to Candidates. It’s easier in local elections to connect with candidates. It’s also a great way to raise the profile of your organization. You can forge relationships that benefit your community now, and that also have the potential to pay off as local candidates are elected to higher office. 
  4. The Results Matter. Local races may not be as popular as presidential races, but they nevertheless impact policy, zoning, spending decisions, school organization, and much more. 

The U.S. Conference of Mayors has released its list of 2013 mayoral races. If there is an election in your community this year, don’t sit it out. There is an enormous need to increase voter participation in local elections and no matter what your organization does, you can positively impact your community.

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