Monday at the Movies

Today’s post isn’t a typical movie, but I believe this video is very important. I hope you’ll watch it and share it.

As the folks at Run for Something often say, the farther down the ballot, the closer to your front door. In other words, many of the issues that immediately affect us — whether our roads are maintained, whether local wetlands can be saved, whether our public schools are institutions of learning or part of the school-to-prison-pipeline for African Americans — are determined by down-ballot elections. Those are the state and local elections that far too often get little or no media coverage.

As Run for Something also says, the way to win national elections is to win local elections. First, local elections help to “build the bench” of people who can run for higher office. A young woman who runs for and wins a seat on the county council may, in a few years, decide to run for the state senate, Congress, and so on. Second, determinations made by down-ballot politicians often impact our ability to win national elections. It’s state and local officials who decide how many drop boxes to have and where to place them. They decide whether to make election day a holiday and what kinds of ID requirements to impose. And, third, a groundswell of support for down-ballot issues and races often can have “reverse coattail” effects. Someone who shows up to vote for the county sheriff they strongly support is likely to go ahead and vote up the ballot for that party’s national candidates.

Dr. Reece’s video is helpful because down-ballot races often get almost no coverage in the media. And, in some places, certain positions aren’t allowed to be identified with a political party. Candidates running for the local board of education, for example, may not be identified by party. This is also true of judges in some locations. So knowing how to find out about these candidates is a really useful tool.

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