As election day looms near, America watches as registered voters line up at the polls and mail-in ballots for early voting. This election might be the most crucial one Americans have ever seen, and no one is taking any chances. Voters are taking preemptive action with the notion that forces are surrounding them, some with extreme political power, who will do anything to keep them from casting their ballot. Some politicians fear their reign may come to an end when the year does. Due to this, voters watch as politicians play a large role in voter suppression. Already we’ve seen voters wait in lines up to 11 hours because their politicians have limited the number of polling facilities in their region. We have witnessed the removal of USPS drop boxes all across the country, forcing people to travel sometimes hours to mail in their ballots. As criminal as this all is, no one is stopping it.
Say you do cast your ballot, whether it be in person or by mail. You have waited in line or traveled the distance to ensure your vote counts. Will you walk away thinking your job is done, or will you want to do more? If your answer is the latter, then I highly encourage you to keep reading. I would love to give you some ideas on how to help your fellow voters.
Hand out water bottles and snacks
Put on your mask and some gloves and hand out snacks and waters to those who are waiting. Many people are coming straight from work and school to vote. There is a good chance you have voters who have not had the time to eat or drink anything and will feel the effects of this as they wait in line. Handing out food and drinks with protective wear will make people’s time in line a little easier. Make sure the water is bottled and unopened, and the snacks are prepackaged as there is still a pandemic happening.
Bring lawn chairs
The effect of standing in line for a long time will quickly start to take its toll on voters. I recommend bringing a few lawn chairs to the voting facilities with you. If you don’t have more than two, ask to borrow some from neighbors. Offer them to people waiting in line. It will make their fight for democracy that much easier.
IF you are comfortable with this and have some time on your hands, offer people you know who don’t have transportation to the polls or nearest drop box a ride. The days are starting to get colder and windier as winter approaches. The journey from point A to point B is getting harder for those without vehicles. If you know someone who is about to suffer through whatever weather to make their vote count, offer them a helping hand by giving them a ride.
Contact young voter outreach programs
Many people do not take into account the number of young adults who are registered to vote but conditioned to believe their ballot won’t matter. I know this because I shared this same belief for a long time. However, that is not true. This past year the government announced there are consequences for the electoral college if they fail to cast a vote that aligns with the voter majority in their region. Clinton lost the 2016 election because of this. She had won the popular vote but lost to Trump when he secured the electoral college. People were outraged. Due to this, there are more precautions than ever to ensure voter’s submissions will count this year. That is why it is more important than ever to reassure young adults that their vote matters. Many states have organizations that will put you in touch with young adults who are registered but unsure whether they should vote or not. It is easy to sign up for and is a remote task that can be done from the comfort of your own home.
This year the bare minimum is voting. So if you can, take the time and reach out to your community. Take action and do what you can to help your fellow registered voters get out there and cast their ballots. This election matters, and so does your voice.