What is Election Advocacy and Why Does It Matter
Election advocacy is a way to become engaged in the election process so that decision-makers and future decision-makers are educated about the issues that matter most to you. It’s knowing when elections (primaries and general elections) are being held, who the candidates are and ballot proposals, and it's about engaging with candidates in public forums and via communications, including letters and emails to their offices or speaking to them at public gatherings.
Not everyone is comfortable speaking up, but elected officials do care about the issues that move local voters and generally welcome hearing from constituents. Public opinion matters in shaping their actions. You can make a difference!
There are many ways to become engaged in order to promote your support of Head Start and other issues.
- Attend a candidate forum to help raise awareness about issues important to you and your support of Head Start.
- Sign up for constituent newsletters from your Member of Congress or elected official.
- Look for opportunities to visit with Members of Congress when they are on recess and back home in the local district offices.
- Read reliable materials about local elections. A good source of non-partisan information is the League of Women Voters who traditionally post online and printed answers to candidate questionnaires so that voters can learn about their backgrounds and compare answers among candidates.
- Contact candidates seeking answers to your questions. Find contact information on their websites and social media pages such as Facebook.
- Write Letters to the Editor in your local newspaper about your support of Head Start. Published letters always catch the eye of elected officials and their staff.
The National Head Start Association has some important resources to help:
- Inviting your Member of Congress or local elected official to visit your Head Start program is a great way to build relationships and show them the impact your program has on the local community. To request and prepare for a meeting with your Member of Congress or state elected official, see “Building Relationships with Your Legislators.”
- The easiest way to begin to build relationships with your members of Congress is to send them a letter explaining why you support Head Start and asking them to support robust funding for the coming fiscal year. Send your letter today!
- Townhalls are a great opportunity to remind your member of Congress of the work you and your program are doing on behalf of the children and families in your community in most need of a Head Start. Download the Townhall toolkit.