Thursday, October 29, 2020

You Can Do More Than Just Vote

This week, a Twitter friend of mine summed up what a lot of Americans are thinking today. "I need a drink. I wish I could do something for my country besides vote." 

After all the hoopla and lead-up to voting, it can be anti-climactic to cast it and then just stew in our own anxiety. Is that all we can do?


Even if you only have a spare hour, even if you can't leave your home, even though we only have a few days left in the election, you can STILL get to work multiplying your influence! Some people call it vote-tripling to call three other people to get them to vote for your candidates, but your influence can be even bigger than three! Call up friends or strangers and help them cast their ballot, vote for your candidate, or - if they've already done those things - volunteer for your candidate!

Help someone vote

Call whoever you can think of to see if they need help with the logistics of voting or decisions about candidates and local referendums. 

Voting can be tricky in 2020. Many polling places have been moved, so they can handle the distancing needed for COVID-19 safety. Some voters will go to the wrong location out of habit. I emailed all my neighbors to make sure they all knew about our change. I also asked our old polling place to update their sign with the new polling location and the website where people could find more voting details.

I'm also reaching out to encourage people to vote early to avoid trouble on Election Day that we can't predict. Just in the last week I've had one friend hospitalized for pneumonia, one hit by a car, and another friend whose family contracted COVID-19. This week, in Mississippi and Louisiana, hurricane Zeta flooded and knocked out power to 2.1 million people. We never know what crises are around the corner.

I was relieved to hear my senior neighbors finally decided to vote early, which Missouri allows without an excuse for those over 64. But they needed a little help figuring out the details of absentee voting. I'm glad I could help with that! Unfortunately, they tried to vote this morning and turned back when over 100 people were in line. They turned away again in the afternoon when the line was even longer. Hopefully, they will be able to vote tomorrow morning. The lines will be even longer on Election Day with frustrated tempers flaring high, so do all you can to help people vote early if they can. 

Phonebank for your local candidates

If you have powerful reasons you want them to win, share 'em! It's no secret I prefer not to phone bank, but my preferences don't mean diddly squat when I think of children separated from parents at the U.S. border or the abysmally lax gun laws in my state. Phone banking is safe and effective. It's also the ONLY way you can reach voters in a different state at this late date! And a week before the election, you might get some great surprise zoom guests - like your candidate and sitting members of Congress - firing you up!

There's me in the upper left listening to candidate Jill
Schupp and guest speaker Rep. Adam Schiff answer my
question about the importance of global health aid.

Even though you'll get a lot of hangups and people who don't want to talk, I usually find a couple of people who make it all worthwhile. 

Last night, I talked to a mom who had decided on her governor and presidential choices, but didn't know much about our down ballot state candidates. She has two pre-teen daughters a little younger than mine, she cares about gun violence and reproductive rights. She was thrilled to know she had FOUR women to vote who shared her values! Honestly, she just sounded like a less-engaged version of myself. I helped her streamline her research and decisions.

For local candidates, go to your preferred candidate's website and they will probably have a sign up there. Local orgs like Moms Demand Action chapters have lists of campaign activities for local candidates. You might meet some cool people who care about your issues who will be your allies after the election.

I met other Moms Demand Action volunteers on this Halloween-themed costume phone bank.

Influence other states by text or phone is asking for even just 20 minutes or more of your time to help text out the vote. They are working to reach 15 million low frequency mom voters to get them the information they need to vote, so every volunteer moment is a BIG help. Many busy moms don't have the info they need to find out when and where to vote, so you can be a great assistance to them using the resources of MomsRising.

People can even do this in line WHILE they are waiting to vote! 

Wisconsin Dems - the org behind the livestream Princess Bride and Rocky Horror Picture Show fundraiser events - are really pouring it on for Biden/Harris and would welcome your help. You can sign up here. They will train you to talk to Wisconsin voters in their very important swing state.

If you want in on that Rocky Horror action live with Tim Curry and Susan Sarandon, you can make a donation and join them Halloween night!

Have you heard that Texas may be turning purple? On the chance that they could turn that big state blue with its 38 electoral votes, out of staters are taking that chance to win with Dance and Dial phone bank events. Each begins with a training and ends with a dance party! 

Take a walk and do a "literature drop"

Dropping literature means walking door to door to houses putting campaign door hangers or other brochures on doors. You'll get a map and a stack of literature from the campaign office. You walk around a neighborhood wearing a mask and put the info on doors. That's it! 

I like this because it's safe from COVID-19 and I don't have to talk to anyone. The closest I ever got to anyone while doing literature drops was calling out to people doing yard work from a distance to ask, "May I hang this on your door?" They always just gave me a thumbs up or waved me towards their door. 

If you live in the St. Louis area and have even a free hour to do this (the weather looks to be beautiful), there is a literature drop for Missouri democrats on Saturday Oct 31-Monday Nov 2. You can sign up here.

Worried about doing this on your own. Bring a friend! This week I invited my friend along who had never done this work before, but is feeling very anxious about the election. Having a nice fall walk with a friend is healthier than sitting at home and worrying. She liked it so much that she's coming out with me again tomorrow!