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How to pass a resolution

Non-binding resolutions are crucial to our long-term strategy. You can pass them in any community and set the stage for city or statewide Anti-Corruption Acts. They bring major public attention to the issue of corruption, and serve as a formal public mandate to city, state and federal governments. Nationally, we point to every resolution passed as more proof that anti-corruption reform is the will of the people.

Passionate anti-corruption volunteers across the country are making this happen in their communities. Check out our wins page to see what other people have accomplished!

First, follow these steps

Every town and city has a different avenue for passing resolutions. To find out which option works in your community, follow these three beginning steps.

  • Step 1: Determine how to pass a resolution in your community. Call your city clerk, and either ask them how to pass a resolution, or ask them to refer you to an online copy of the city charter.
    TIP: Just google the name of your town and “city clerk contact”
  • Step 2: Use the Table of Contents (or the search function in a pdf) to find the sections of the city charter referring to passing a resolution, and see which of the three options below works in your community.
  • Step 3: A successful anti-corruption campaign depends on a team that includes people across the political spectrum. To win, as a movement, we need to reach across the aisle. If you’re a conservative, reach out to someone on the left, and if you’re a progressive, reach out to the right.
    TIP: If you need help making a resolution strategy, get in touch with our organizers by emailing grassroots@represent.us


You need to determine your own resolution strategy using the steps above, but here are the three most common ways to pass a resolution in your community.

Next, follow the steps in the option you've picked

Option A: Ask Your City Council to Pass a Resolution

In most cities and counties you can ask your city council, county commissioners, select board, or other governing body to directly pass a resolution. Here’s how:

  • Step 4: Write the resolution – Feel free to use our model resolution here as a starting point.
  • Step 5:Meet the councilor board – Identify likely allies and schedule meetings. Attend city council meetings, make your case and ask for their support. Schedule meetings with every member of the council or board to explain the issues to them and answer their questions. If you find a particularly supportive member of the council, be sure to ask them for insight on the other councilors.
  • Step 6: Pack the Room – When the day for the vote arrives, pack the room with your supporters to put pressure on the officials to adopt the resolution.

Option B: Ask Voters to Decide

Some cities and states allow you to put a non-binding resolution onto your local, county or state ballot directly by collecting signatures from local voters.

  • Step 4: Write the resolution – Keep it short, it should fit on the ballot.
  • Step 5: Run a signature drive – Signature drives allow you to build public support for the resolution, recruit volunteers, and avoid politicians who may not want to see this legislation pass. Confirm with the local clerk how many signatures you need. To account for any invalid signatures, collect one-third more than the required signature count.
  • Step 6: Get out the Vote! – Make sure the whole community knows what you are doing! 

Option C: City Council Places the Resolution on the Ballot

If go this route, you need to have a strong get out the vote plan.

  • Step 4: Write the resolution – In many cases, the city council may insist on writing the language themselves. If this is the case, you’ll want to give them this sample resolution as a copy.
  • Step 5: Meet the councilor board – Identify likely allies and schedule individual meetings. With Option C, you will likely need a member of the council to sponsor the legislation. Meeting one-on-one with legislators is a great way to identify your champions.
  • Step 6: Get out the Vote – Make sure the whole community knows what you are doing!

Finally, celebrate!

When you win make sure you celebrate all of your hard work with your team!

In case you need it, more resources


Disclaimer: This information is advisory in nature and should not be construed as legal advice.


Got feedback? email grassroots@represent.us or give us a call at 413.585.8100 ex.29

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