The Election is Over: Now What?

7 Post Voting Activities
April 1, 2024
clip art graphic showing several people in line to vote at the polls

Voting is great. But what else can we do?

Jasmine Cardenas

With the Primary Election over, you are probably wondering what to do next. Whether you were able to vote or not, I will lay out some activities you, as a student, can do to stay civically engaged or become more civically involved after elections.

1. Prepare for the next election.

The best place to start becoming civically engaged is through registering to vote if you have not already. You should register to vote if you have recently met the criteria of eligibility to register. If you are unsure on what makes you eligible to register, the Secretary of State has a tool you can use to view what factors make you eligible as well as viewing your current registration status. 

After voter registration and after any Primary Election, it is important to prepare yourself for the upcoming Presidential Election. This means you need to inform yourself on things like when the election is (November 5th) and who and what will be on the ballot this year. You will want to be as knowledgeable as possible, so you’ll want to check the results of the Primary Election which you can do using this results tool from the Secretary of State to inform yourself on the candidates running and also look out for their campaigns, speeches, and the policies they are in favor of or against.

2. Attending city council meetings.

Attending city council meetings gives you the opportunity to hear the most concerning issues in your area and the council's views on them. Typically, you will hear what plans they have towards resolving or working on those issues and if there is time, you can even bring up some issues you personally think need to be handled. Most city council meetings are open to the public but you can always check on Sonoma County's CivicWeb portal to view the dates and times of the meetings, past recorded meetings, and find contact info if you have any additional questions. 

[Related: What You Should Know About City Council Meetings]

3. Connect with your local representatives.

Connecting with local representatives allows for you to provide feedback on how you think issues are being handled. You can find your local representative quite easily; this link will ask for information like your address and zip code to ensure they provide you with the correct local representative in your area. Once you have found them you will be redirected to their website with their contact information where you can send a letter or email with your concerns or support of a specific issue. 

4. Advocate for policies you are passionate about.

Advocacy for different political issues, both nationally and locally, can help spread awareness and bring different perspectives to the table. An example of this can be using social media and is as simple as posting or reposting information in regards to a political issue like climate change and the steps we can take towards helping the planet. But you can also advocate through signing petitions, participating in protests or boycotts, emailing your local representatives, and speaking at city council meetings.

5. Stay updated on local and national issues.

Luckily, through the use of many different media outlets, it is very easy to stay up-to-date on different political issues. There are news articles/breaking news you can access online, social media pages for news articles, email subscriptions, news on the television, etc.
The most important thing when it comes to news is making sure your source is credible. You can learn what makes a source reputable, how to fact check, and how to spot misinformation, with the use of local libraries and nonpartisan organizations like the League of Women Voters where they post blogs that walk you through the essentials of fact checking

6. Look into non-profit organizations you deem beneficial to your community you would like to work with.

Volunteering or working at non profit organizations in your area contribute to and positively impact the community. While some organizations are not focused on electoral politics, they are still great ways to civically engage with your community. You can look further into doing this through organizations like the YMCA, where the focus is helping and creating a safe environment for children or volunteering at food pantries like NOAH (Neighbors Organized Against Hunger) here in Rohnert Park.

7. Work on campaigns alongside community members running in local elections! 

Having a strong passion for civic engagement and involvement in local politics is a great start to this. Attending city council meetings is a great way to ensure you're up-to-date on local issues and policies and the people supporting or opposing them. You can look up a campaign you would like to work on and register to volunteer and get work experience. If you are looking for academic credit for your civic engagement and political work, you can check if the campaign is an approved organization in SSUEngage. If the particular campaign you are interested in is not listed as approved, reach out to the CCE and they can help. 

Participating in big elections is not the only way you can become civically engaged. Your impact and influence matters and if you are able to do any of the activities listed above, that is amazing! You can even become civically engaged through the classes you take, like an introductory political science class. Remember, civic engagement can begin anywhere. If you are an eligible voter, register to vote and inform yourself on the different things impacting your community!