Philadelphia’s local election is next month. But the one that you’re already hearing more about — if past turnout is any indication — is coming up soon, too: the 2016 Presidential race.
Though the 2016 Pennsylvania presidential primaries don’t happen until April, now might be the best time to start getting involved. Here are a few ways you can do it — including how to score sweet yard signs to show off to friends.
Contact the local party
Joe DeFelice, executive director of the Republican City Committee, said the local Republicans always get their most volunteers during presidential election years. The local party can put people in touch with the state party or even individual campaigns. So if you’re a big fan of Marco Rubio or Jeb Bush, you might be able to get a better role as a volunteer if you connect with the local Republican Party first rather than cold-calling their campaigns. DeFelice said young people who get involved with individual candidates during presidential races sometimes they’ll stick around and help with upcoming party events and local races.
His main advice is to get started soon.
“It’s better to be plugged in earlier,” DeFelice said. “If you were circulating petitions for them in January — if Pennsylvania does become in play — you could become a point person here.”
Volunteer at the conventions
The Democratic National Convention is in Philadelphia next summer, and the Party will be looking for all kinds of volunteers. Somewhere between 6,000 to 10,000 will be needed as “Philly friends” to help delegates around the city. This is where you can apply to be a volunteer.
You could also volunteer for an organization attending the Convention. In 2012 at the Charlotte Democratic National Convention, more than 10,000 volunteers were credentialed. Volunteering for another organization will probably increase your likelihood of actually being able to see the cool speeches.
The Republican National Convention, in Cleveland, isn’t too far away. DeFelice said he’s already been getting calls from people interested in volunteering for it. Here’s how you can do that. Again, DeFelice recommends contacting the local party first if you want to make deeper connections.
Go grassroots for Bernie
Bernie Sanders, who is pushing Hillary Clinton in polls, has a few hundred fans in Philadelphia who are not affiliated with his official campaign but trying to help him anyway. Two different Facebook groups, Philly for Bernie 2016 and Philadelphia for Bernie 2016, are trying to help Sanders get elected. The latter group is holding an event this Thursday at 6 p.m.
Get a sweet campaign sign
At this point, with both races wide open, you’ll have to reach out to the campaigns themselves if you want to support Hillary, Jeb! or any of the other dozen-or-so candidates by hanging a sign in your window or on your lawn. DeFelice explained that until the party nominates a candidate and endorsements start rolling in, signage is handled at the campaign level.
How to get involved on college campuses
If you’re still in college, there are dozens of possibilities for getting involved with people your own age. We made a list of some of the best and easiest ways to do it earlier this fall.
Attend Philly presidential campaign events
The Pennsylvania primaries aren’t until April, so many of the candidates likely won’t cross through Philadelphia until next year. But some have already come. Martin O’Malley spoke and sang at the Point Breeze beer garden. Scott Walker made that infamous visit to Geno’s and Pat’s before he withdrew from the race. Rubio is coming to Chester County on Thursday. Carly Fiorina is stopping by Penn next month.
Pay attention to the news or, again, get involved with the local parties, so you don’t miss any upcoming visits of your favorite candidate. While some of these events might be cost-prohibitive — Chris Christie and Bush have had fundraisers at the Union League — many are not. People could have attended O’Malley’s Point Breeze event for just $25 and gotten free beer out of it.