Turn power off to check AC contactor?

We are trying to check the contactor on our intermittently running AC. The contactor is not engaged/pulled in while the thermostat is calling for cooling so we know this can be a cause of low voltage to the contactor. To push in/engage the contactor to test if the compressor will kick on, do we leave the power supply on and manually push it? It seems like you would have to, but is it safe to push that in while power is available to the system? If it is low voltage, will replacing the contactor fix that problem?
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