If you’ve ever considered running for office but decided against it because you have no experience—or even if you’ve never considered it before, that’s about to change. Since Donald Trump’s election in November, websites that help simplify the political process have been cropping up everywhere to help citizens get more involved (or at least more informed) with what it takes to run for office.
Websites like “Run For Office” and “Run For Something” (sensing a theme here?) are taking the guesswork out of the complicated process of becoming a public servant. While Run For Something is openly partisan (it was founded by two Democratic digital organizers), Run For Office is non-partisan and merely a jumping-off point for political newbies.
Though the sites diverge slightly in their aims (Run For Something is focused on getting people under 35 into down-ballot positions), both sites want to make the political process more accessible to the average American.
With Run For Office, all you have to do is type in your address or zip code and any available offices will pop up. This could be anything from the district attorney general or mayor to positions on the board of education. You can see when the election is and when you have to file your application to run.
From there, the site will help guide you through the next steps, including what paperwork you need to fill out and providing online courses about how to run for public office. The site is sponsored by the leadership software program NationBuilder, and any application to public office comes with a 14-day free trial of the software. If you do choose to get involved through this site, however, make sure you don’t inadvertently sign up for the full NationBuilder package, which can vary in cost per month.
Alternatively, Run For Something helps connect people interested in a progressive candidacy to training organizations such as EMILY’s List, Latino Victory Project, She Should Run, Emerge and Higher Heights. Each of these separate programs trains people with no political experience to run on a specific platform.
The goal of both websites is to demystify and simplify the process of running for office. Having an electorate that’s more informed about and engaged with the path to holding public office certainly seems like a win across the board.
“Candidate recruitment isn’t sexy, it takes a lot of manpower, it takes a lot time, and it needs more concerted effort,” Run For Something’s cofounder Amanda Litman told Mother Jones in an interview, “which is why we are stepping up here.”
So if you’ve ever considered running for office, now is your time. The path has never been clearer.