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.


Article - December 23, 2018
Policy's Last Mile
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On October 25, five scientists and engineers shared their insights on community engagement at an ESAL happy hour in Oakland, California. The event brought together leaders from across the San Francisco Bay Area who apply their expertise toward pressing problems in their neighborhoods.

Article - December 17, 2018
Fish Passage in Alaska
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Frankie Barker talks about how she helped write an ordinance that would require anyone building roads in Alaska's Matanuska-Susitna Borough to adhere to US Fish and Wildlife Service standards for fish passage when installing culverts.

Article - November 24, 2018
Transforming Political Campaigns with Technology
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Computer scientist and physicist Dave Leichtman has been involved in political technology for over ten years. He helped build a tech volunteer group in his state to connect tech-savvy individuals with campaigns. Now, he is the vice chair for technology and communications of the Democratic Party of Virginia.

Article - November 15, 2018
Milwaukee Area Science Advocates
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The Milwaukee Area Science Advocates (MASA) nonprofit grew out of the March for Science. MASA's mission–to increase scientific enthusiasm, understanding, and legislative value in the Milwaukee area–is achieved through a strong relationship with the community.

Article - July 23, 2018
Representing a State Student Delegation
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Ryan Coogan wrote to ESAL about participating in a nuclear engineering student delegation in Texas, where students met with politicians and nuclear industry stakeholders to discuss safety and security, environmental impacts, and politics.

Article - June 11, 2018
Meeting with a City Official
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In the second part of this month's "Postcard", Arti Garg describes a follow-up discussion she had with her city's economic development manager after offering public comments at a city council committee meeting. She wrote a one-page summary proposing that the city prioritize cleantech hardware in its development plan.

Article - June 11, 2018
Delivering Public Comments at a City Committee Meeting
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In this month’s “Postcard”, Arti Garg describes delivering public comments at a city council committee meeting.

Article - April 23, 2018
An Astrophysicist Turns his Gaze to Gerrymandering
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In this month's "Stories from the Field", we talked to Thomas Beatty, an assistant research professor in astronomy at Pennsylvania State University who is skilled at charting distant worlds. He applies some of the same STEM principles to the more down-to-earth subject of gerrymandering, which has been the subject of recent court rulings and ongoing political debate.

Article - April 9, 2018
Coffee with City Council Members
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In this month's "Postcard", Griff O’Neill, a physicist by training currently working as an engineer in the semiconductor industry in California, describes how he sat down for coffee with two city council members from his community.

Last Updated: Dec 30, 2018
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