I have watched with awe the way Generation Z has wielded the force of the internet to impact politics and political culture. Buying the Trump tickets? Priceless. Sinking the app ratings? Creative. Campaigning for Justice. Beautiful.
The Presidential battle gets all the attention every 4 years. But I can’t help but imagine what will happen if the generation of emerging voters lets its skills loose on state elections. So to that end, to my young friends, colleagues, and acquaintances: a reminder, some tips, and a challenge!
Reminder: State elections matter. They’re huge really.
We always hear about what happens in the Supreme Court and the importance of what “kind” of judges we have on the Court. (I’ll set my soapbox on judicial independence aside for some other day.) Remember, MANY cases that make it to the Supreme Court get there because a state legislature passed a controversial law in the first place. Example: the patchwork of sometimes strange and possibly unconstitutional reproductive rights laws that differ from state to state. It takes the work of several organizations just to keep track of them all in maps and charts.
This is just one example of a topic where state legislation is as Important or More Important than Who Sits on SCOTUS.
Tips: Don’t wait until the day before election day to think about the state elections. Support someone early.
- Step 1 – Determine who represents you in the state legislature. Start here and click until you know who represents you in the state house and senate. This will take you less than one minute.
- Step 2 – See what they are up to. Click the rep’s name or contact button and see what bills, if any, your reps have authored and co-authored. This is what we call a primary source (you don’t have to rely on the news to tell you, you CAN SEE IT FOR YOURSELF). This is a window into how they spend their legislative time. This might seem daunting, but it’s relatively easy.
- Step 3 – See who is running against them. You can do that here.
Challenge: Now, throw some social media love to your preferred candidate.
Dissatisfied with your legislators’ priorities? Excited about the challenger? Happy with the incumbent? In any event – pick one of the candidates, whether incumbent or challenger, and use your social platforms to up their name recognition. Get them trending. Get a conversation started in your community about your community. Talk to your friends and parents and neighbors about why you prefer one candidate over the other. Your voice has power.