ESAL Playbook: Support a Local Ballot Measure


  • Advocate for a local ballot measure in your community.
  • Provide information for potential voters so they can make a better informed decision.

Ideal Outcomes

  • Voters who are more educated on the issue and more engaged in the local legislative process.
  • Ensuring that local ballot measures reflect community opinions.

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Find out what measures are being considered:
    • Google!
    • Talk to the people or groups endorsing the measures.
    • Follow city council meetings – they approve what gets on the ballot, normally several months before the election.
  2. Find a team. Great places to start are:
    • Your city council or other elected officials.
    • People you know in your community.
    • People who are already on local boards, task forces, or commissions.
    • People who volunteer in your community.
  3. Tailor your actions and strategy to your community and issue.
    • Volunteers can help with things like fundraising, phonebanking, and canvassing (e.g. flyers, lawn signs, door-to-door visits) – ask the campaign leaders where they need help!
    • Get out there and take action!


  • Keep it personal.
    • Directly reach out to your neighbors to inform them about their ballot options.
    • Showcase prominent community members in your advertising – many people won’t be familiar with the issues, but a friendly, familiar face is a good starting point to win them over.
  • Incorporate the skills that volunteers bring.
    • People with a technical background can simplify data and create visual infographics (i.e. graphs, charts) to communicate complicated policy.
    • Community leaders can influence voters, be sure to connect with them and ask them to endorse the measure you’re supporting.


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Share this with your networkTweet“Policy entrepreneurs” often fly under the radar, developing policy ideas to solve problems over decades and surfacing with solutions at just the right moment. Researchers, engineers, consumer advocates, clinicians, civil servants, or community organizers—policy entrepreneurs are innovators who pull together ideas and supporters to accomplish what they could not on their […]

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Last Updated: Dec 30, 2018
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