As we move into October the leaves are turning and the 2018 election season is heading into the home stretch. For engaged citizens who are politically active these mid-term elections may feel exciting, even all-consuming. You likely have neighbors whose awareness of the elections and the candidates is limited to seeing yard signs going up along their commute to work or viewing the media ads that have begun to fill more air time on television, radio and the internet. Your vote will matter in November, but it is your dollars that matter right now.
Make a contribution to each of the candidates that you support TODAY, and follow that with as many contributions as you can squeeze into your budget between now and November 6th!
At the end of the day, your contribution may be even more important to the outcome of the election than your vote. “How could this be?” you might be wondering. Consider the following:
- Winning elections is linked to the volume of contributors. Candidates report on the number of their contributors as one campaign strategy—indicating the depth and breadth of their support within the community. If you are someone who is concerned about the impact of corporate dollars on elections, as many people are today, you are even more likely to want to know how many people are backing your candidate.
- Contributions can translate into votes from people who might not have voted without your contribution. While it is impossible to directly link a particular contribution to particular voter behavior, estimates suggest that that it takes about $40 in contributions to turn out one vote from the estimated 40-45% of eligible voters who otherwise would not be turning out to vote. How does this happen? Contributions make it possible for candidates to educate the public about their positions—through speaking, expanding their volunteer pool and supporting those volunteer efforts into more neighborhoods, and purchasing media that reaches more voters. Contributions also make it possible for candidates to engage in Get Out the Vote efforts, helping those who might have stayed at home to get to the polls. $40/week for the next 5 weeks to your candidate could translate into 5 votes in addition to yours!
- Individual contributions—not PACs and not corporations—are what makes it possible for new candidates to get in the race and stay in the running. The average Congressional race receives nearly 60% of its funding from individuals. Those are people like you and me who contribute $1 to $2700 (the current FEC limit on individual campaign contributions). For new candidates, that percentage is even higher. A true democracy relies upon elections to offer a forum for a range of ideas, giving voters choices about the direction of our communities and our country on important policy issues. New candidates especially need your support to stay strong in the race right up to the finish line.
While your contribution of any size will make a difference, for these and many other reasons, if you are in a financial position to do more, please consider making a contribution of $250 or more, either as a one time gift or in smaller weekly installments during these final 5 weeks of the campaign. Only a small handful of people currently give at this level (13% according to the Pew Research Center). Which means that a small handful of people can have a BIG impact on elections. This is good news for all of us—if we work together and give as much as we are able in support of our values and beliefs we can get candidates who reflect those values and beliefs into office. (Be aware that when you donate $200 or more to a specific candidate, the Federal Elections Commission requires the candidate to report that gift, including your name and occupation in their public filings.)
Whether local or national races, make your contribution today (and don’t forget to VOTE!).