Putting a yard sign up is great—but yard signs don’t win elections.
So what works? The good news is the most effective two things you could do are free and easy.
- A letter to the editor to The Vidette or Daily World
- Calling one of the local radio talk shows.
- Talking to your friends and neighbors
Letters to the editor are free and effective
Your letter doesn’t have to be long. In fact, shorter is better. Three sentences is plenty, and it’s best to stick to one topic.
Stick to the issues
Stay away from name-calling or personal attacks and focus on performance in office. It’s fine to talk about what’s happened in city hall and compare the vision and positions of candidates. Just keep it respectful, because public service is a noble calling.
Here are my top five issues, though you’re welcome to write about whatever in Monte motivates you:
- Rebuild trust between the citizens and city hall
- Develop a plan tied to economic development and fill empty storefronts
- Get tourists to stay in Monte rather than just stop for gas, with free Wi-Fi downtown and private-public partnerships in fishing, hiking and mountain biking
- Help our kids with better ball fields for baseball, softball and soccer
- Make all three entrances to our town as beautiful as our neighborhoods
End with a call to action
Most people don’t pay attention and vote during city races, and only turn out during presidential years. Talk about that. Ask them to vote, because this year, the mayor and city council races do matter.
- Ex: “I know a lot of people who only vote during presidential years. But if you live in Monte, please don’t sit this one out. Your vote matters. Please turn in your ballot.”
Send it by email
It’s the easiest way, for you and for the newspaper. They hate letters sent by snail mail, because that means retyping the whole thing. End your email with your full name, city and a daytime phone number or they won’t print it.
The Daily World—firstname.lastname@example.org
Radio talk shows
People do pay attention to these shows.
Coffee Talk is the most popular call-in show on KBKW.
Here’s the contact information, email and website info from the station: You can talk to Doug on air between 6 and 10 am by calling 360-533-KBKW or by emailing him at email@example.com.
Talking to your friends and neighbors
More and more people actually get their news on their phones and computers, which means they’re relying on things like Facebook and Twitter.
If you’re on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram—or have a blog—it does help to talk to your friends about voting this year.
Even more important is talking about races like this one. Your friends and neighbors might not be paying attention to city council and mayor races. People are busy. If you get a chance, make sure people you know are registered to vote and know why this election is important for the future of Monte.
And it’s not bad to use a little humor as shorthand.