Voter ‘participation’ in the election process

Virginia guy here. I get about 6-8 political emails per day- some purport to be 1 or 2 question ‘surveys’. Others are mass-mailed ‘personal notes’. Both clearly bogus. All begging for money. But there does not seem to be any way to express my views to candidates or parties. No ‘contact us’ that elicits any response or acknowledgement. Apparently ones function is to send cash and vote a straight ticket, but otherwise sit in silent admiration. The Dem candidate here is losing a solid lead. You never see his yard signs. His ads are few and lackluster. Yet Dems say this campaign is critical. Something is wrong in all this, but there is no way to respond. What’s up?

Generally during a campaign the information/idea flow goes one way. The campaign has made their policy positions and now they are in persuade and GOTV mode.

Once elected, there are generally both phone numbers and email addresses you can use to express your opinions.

I guess my question to you would be, what opinion do you want to express, and why? Are you hoping for a direct response to a policy question, or to actually influence the campaigns tactics or methods?

Your “participation” at this late date can only really consist of donating money, going door-to-door canvassing, cold-calling people to vote, perhaps putting out a yard sign (but I doubt those really matter that much), and talking to friends and neighbors (directly or through social media) to attempt to influence them.

ETA: And assuming you are talking about the Governor race, you can find multiple events including meet-and-greets with the candidate here: Volunteer Opportunities, Events, and Petitions Near Me · Terry for Virginia on Mobilize

I just deleted the day’s begging emails and wrote this post in frustration. I read in the WaPo that campaigns are raising enormous sums- but I do not see results. I see no McAuliffe signs to speak of, but tons for Republicans. TV ads for dems appear fewer in number and less impactful. Where are my donations going? How do I ask?

There are always ways you can get into contact with basically any politician. Most of them are not going to take strategy advice on their campaigns from individual voters though, some aide will record your communication and send some sort of polite response.

I would also note that “yard signs” is one of the worst metrics for whether a political campaign is working. I heard endlessly in 2020 that here in Virginia everyone was seeing “way more Trump signs”, but Biden won Virginia in a walk. Note that I’m not saying Democrats have a lock on the State House or Governor’s mansion this time–I think because the suburbs are disaffected, it’s going to be a close vote. What I’m saying is yard signs are a very poor indicator of what is happening.

One of the reasons they weren’t predictive in 2020 is because the sort of voter who even can put up yard signs, leans Republican. There’s millions of voters in townhouses, condos, apartments etc in Northern Virginia who vote Blue and don’t have yards and don’t put out yard signs.

To find out where your donations are going you would look at the campaign’s financial disclosures.

You can find the latest one from McAuliffe here: State Board of Elections - Campaign Finance Reporting

Schedule D has expenditures. Generally news reports will give you a breakdown. This story ( records that the two campaigns have spent about the same this cycle, with McAuliffe having the late advantage in spending.

If you want to know about TV ads, this article states that McAuliffe is outspending Youngkin on TV, radio, and online ads by a small margin (22.8M to 20.9M).

My hypothesis is that perhaps you live in a more conservative part of the state? This would explain both the yard signs (given polarization many supporters of the “unpopular” party are reluctant to put up signs any more) and the TV ads (ads are much more localized now than, I believe - the days of blanketing the state are over).

Thanks to both. I get what you are saying. I cannot shake the notion, though, that this drawn out, horrifically expensive system of elections is ripe for reform.

Yeah, we tried. McCain-Feingold. SCOTUS gutted it.

Or worse, the property owners put up Red signs on the apartment property (it happened around here in fact- huge-ass Trump signs on the grounds of a bunch of low-income, mostly Black apartment complexes).