Political Process

The South Jersey Women for Progressive Change’s Political Process Committee focuses upon building a sustainable resource center to empower progressive women to understand, take action, and impact the political process.

We help women build political tool kits through workshops, lectures, political actions, and other resources. The Political Process Committee concentrates on three key areas:

  • Politics 101
    • Knowing how our system of government functions
    • Knowing our elected officials
    • Taking strategic and effective political action
    • Effective action for and against important progressive causes
  • Voting Rights
    • Voting access
    • Access to voting
    • Abolishing Gerrymandering
  • Yes, She Can
    • Supporting progressive elected officials
    • Electing progressive women to office

Chair: Donna Helmes

 

Take Local Action

  1. Make sure you and everyone you know are registered to vote. Voting is the most direct to way to effect the political change you want to see in the world. Check the status of your voter registration and find out where you vote here. You can also download and print voter registration forms here to give to all your friends.
  2. Know when elections will happen and how you want to vote. To help, download the Every Election app, which tells you when the next election is and who’s running, so you don’t miss a beat and you can get your friends on board.
  3. Join a Huddle in your area. Huddles are outgrowths of the Women’s March. They are small groups organized around taking action. Find one near you here or set up your own.
  4. Attend your town council meeting. Learn what’s going on in your neighborhood and become involved in issues that affect you and your neighbors directly. Township websites publish meeting dates and times.
  5. Join your local chapter of the Democratic Party and/or Our Revolution. Political parties play an important role in choosing candidates to run in elections. The first step in changing the politicians in office is to get involved in choosing who gets on the ticket. There are county-wide committees (Atlantic, BurlingtonCamden, Cape May, Gloucester, Salem), but if your town doesn’t have one yet you could start your own! You can also search for contact information of the local Democratic Party by your address here.
  6. Volunteer for Knock Every Door. Take your friends and go door to door to canvass in opposition to Trump. Sign up for an orientation and guide for how to do it here.
  7. Write a letter to your local paper. Make your voice heard in your community. If there is an issue you think needs attention, help shape public opinion by expressing your own.
  8. Run for office. If you have the time and energy to take matters into your own hands, consider running for office at any level. Elected offices include school board members, township committee members, and country freeholders among others. Several organizations can help you decide whether to run and train you to be successful. If you’re considering a run for office you may want to contact Emerge New Jersey, She Should Run, Ready to Run or Emily’s List for guidance.

 

Take Statewide Action

  1. Know who your legislators are and how they’ve voted. Open:States can help you find your state assembly members (you have 2) and state senator (you have 1). It also keeps track of bills, committees, and events happening in the state legislature. Don’t let national politics take up all your attention. New Jersey needs you, too.
  2. Help the 8th Legislative District turn blue. Volunteers are needed. Sign up here.
  3. Work on election reform with New Jersey Awakens, a coalition of candidates and volunteers dedicated to making politicians more accountable to the will of the people in our state. There are lots of ways to help at the statewide or county level. Check there out here.
  4. Learn about the candidates in New Jersey’s gubernatorial election. There are several candidates you can learn about here. There is also a brief summary of the positions they articulated at the May 9 debate here. If you find a favorite, consider volunteering for his or her campaign.

Take National Action

  1. Follow legislative action at the national level. It can be hard to keep up with everything going on. Ballotopedia, a searchable encylopedia of American politics, is one way to keep track.
  2. Contact your congress people by phone, mail, email, fax, tweet, text, Facebook and in person. Democracy has become a contact sport and the popular Indivisible Guide can give you tips on how to participate effectively. Pro tip: When the phone lines are busy, you can send free faxes to your representative and senators through FaxZero.
  3. Get comfortable asserting yourself. This is no time to take the path of least resistance. If you’re someone who is not comfortable using the phone, take a look at the tips for “How to Call Your Rep When You Have Social Anxiety” and then make those calls anyway. Someday someone will ask you what you were doing in 2017 and you’ll want to be able to say you did your part to save the USA. You can also train to become an activist with 5, 10, and 30 minute workouts at My Civic Workout.
  4. Help with elections in other states. New Jersey is firmly blue, but other states need help. Flippable and Sister District are national organizations you can join as a volunteer to help regain democratic control in states and districts that have the most potential to swing democratic. Volunteers phone bank or text on behalf of democratic candidates to help influence the most promising elections. You can also help build a national database of open positions at Run for Office so people who want to run know where and when elections are being held.
  5. Let technology help you. Sign up for Daily Action alerts or weekly actions from Wall of Us. You can also get phone numbers and scripts from 5 Calls, or text your representatives with a bot at Resistbot. You can also register your opinions with your representatives with Issue Voter or Countable.

Other local progressive political organizations:

Action Together Burlington County is a local chapter of Action Together New Jersey, a volunteer, grass-roots organization of NJ residents who advocate for legislation that protects human rights, and work to support and elect like-minded legislators at the local, state, and federal level.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington is a group of lawyers, researchers, and communicators that works to reduce the influence of money in politics and foster a government that is ethical and accountable.

League of Women Voters of New Jersey advocates for the passage of legislation that extends and protects voting rights, offers equal education opportunities, protects New Jersey’s environment, and increases government transparency. There are local chapters in Burlington, Camden, Cape May and Ocean counties.

NJ 3rd Congressional Action Group is a group of constituents of the NJ 3rd Congressional District that provides information, presents opportunities, and encourages involvement related to local, state and national politics that influence New Jersey’s 3rd Congressional District.

NJ Federation of Democratic Women is an organization of women committed to supporting each other to advance Democratic Political goals and ideals through networking, community activism, and engagement.

Our Revolution South Jersey (Pemberton), Our Revolution Burlington County Committee Caucus (Mount Holly), and Our Revolution Ocean County (Lavallette) are local chapters of Our Revolution, the movement founded by Senator Bernie Sanders which is dedicated to electing progressives and mobilizing progressive citizens.

South Jersey NOW is a local chapter of the National Organization of Women which works on issues such as equal pay for equal work, ending violence against women, reproductive rights, child care, divorce law, and ending racism for women in politics. Here is a link to their calendar of events.

Working Families is a progressive political organization that fights for a fair economy and a democracy in which every voice matters.