4 Ways to Get Politically Active, Even if You Can't Vote in the Upcoming Elections

The news has been clogging up social feeds with information about the upcoming 2020 elections for months now, and while you may be following along and trying to educate yourself on everything political, it probably feels like your learning is coming to a dead end when you can't yet vote. Fear not, under-18s – there are still a number of ways you can get involved in this election cycle. Any momentum can have a huge impact on the polls and, ultimately, who is elected – even if you're not able to cast an actual vote just yet. 

Related: 6 Ways to Become an Activist in High School
  1. 1. Do your research

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    Spending time researching candidates and their political stances can help steer you toward who you'd vote for in an election. Being educated on the different parties’ central issues and your state’s candidates’ views will only better prepare you for when your turn comes to fill out the ballot.

    Start by checking out your local candidates! Review their online profiles for more information on their political values and central issues. For presidential elections, many sites are available that will easily compare the candidates' stances of common issues, helping you to learn where you lean. 

  2. 2. Volunteer for campaigns

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    If there's a political figure or party that you find yourself aligning with, look to your local area to assist in campaigning for their cause. A quick Google search or look at the party/candidate’s social media can tell you what volunteer or intern opportunities are near you. This could include phone-banks, writing or texting potential voters to gather their support, fundraising, weekend canvassing for voters, and responding to voter’s questions by mail or email. And a major plus: they look great on your resume!

    If you’re having trouble connecting to a campaign that resonates with you, try the GAP Project’s quiz to find the right campaign for you.

  3. 3. Campaign for issues on your own

    If you can’t find a party or candidate you believe in, campaign on your own. Raising awareness about specific political issues around election time brings those issues front and center. Doing so can push them to our potential political leaders and can lead to real change. Sharing on social media, putting posters up at your school, posting flyers in your neighborhood, protesting and emailing your local officials can all spread the message of your issue, and spark change outside of a vote. 

  4. 4. Pre-register to vote, & encourage your friends

    Depending on the laws for your state, you may be able to pre-register to vote – meaning when you are old enough, you'll be ready to go! Try spreading the word to your friends, too, so that they’re as prepared to vote as they can be, and get as many of your friends who are of voting age to the polls on voting day as you can – every vote counts!

While you’re waiting for your 18th birthday to tick over and the chance to finally vote, there are still things you can do to have a strong influence on your community, country and how it’s run. Get politically involved now and flex your democratic right!