So you’ve voted early, donated to campaigns, put up your yard signs, and now what? How can you help on Election Day? I know that I want to do everything I can, but what does that look like for me? We turned to political consultant and frequent contributor and strong LGBTQIA ally, Matt Merriman-Preston, for some ideas.
Note – this information is Pennsylvania specific with regard to links, but broadly speaking it would apply anywhere.
Let’s set the stage
– 93 Million people around the country have voted early or by mail- including 2.3 Million in Pennsylvania
– Democrats should feel positive about enthusiasm so far, but nothing is static and nothing is pre-determined!
How to vote still
– If you haven’t voted yet, VOTE
– If you have a mail-in ballot: if you are able, return it IN PERSON to the board of elections. They are open today (Sunday) (8am-8pm), tomorrow (Monday) (8am-8pm), and Election Day (7am-8pm). This will shorten the wait at the polls and respects the safety of the poll workers and voters.
– If you lost or cannot find your mail in ballot, you can go to the Board of Elections and they can re-print your ballot and you can vote over-the-counter there
– If you plan to vote at the polls and you have a mail-in ballot, bring the entire ballot package with you to be spoiled. This is not the best option, because it will take time at the polls
– As a last resort, if you do not have your mail-in ballot and you didn’t submit it, you can vote provisionally at your regular polling place.
– If you never requested a mail-in ballot, vote in person at your regular polling place. Lookup at VotesPA.com
– If you cannot leave the house, you may technically still mail your ballot through Election Day. The standing legal ruling is that votes postmarked by Nov 3 and received by Nov 6 will count. The Supreme Court did not overturn this decision before Election Day, but they held out the possibility that they may rule on this later, and there is a strong indication that the conservative court may throw out those ballots. Mail your ballot if you must and there will be legal teams fighting to be sure that it is counted, but if you can drop your ballot off at the Board of Elections or vote at your poll, that may be a better option.
What can you still do now?
– the benefit of early voting and early enthusiasm is that you can help campaigns turn out less-likely and harder-to-reach voters.
– contact your favorite down-ballot campaign or search https://www.mobilize.us/ for opportunities near you — virtually all campaigns have options to help from home: mostly phone banking and texting voters to be sure they know how to vote and to answer any last minute questions
What to expect at the polls?
– Be safe and keep those around you safe: wear a mask, practice safe physical distancing, bring your own pen
– Find your polling place at VotesPA.com — double-check before you go as many may have moved!
– Facing harassment or intimidation at the polls. You have a right to vote without intimidation. Nobody may physically prevent you from voting or make you feel unsafe. If you are able, speak to an Election worker inside of your polling place. You can also report problems at 866-OUR-VOTE. If there are friendly campaign volunteers outside, you may also speak with them. Many may have a way to report incidents to their legal teams.
How to watch results on Election Night like a pro
– Be patient. We may not know the results on Election Night.
– There has been an enormous gap between parties who has taken part in mail-in balloting by party, early results in some states may give a false impression of how the votes will turn out.
– States that count mail-in ballots early and may be among the first consequential states to report: Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Texas, Arizona. If Biden were to win any of these, there’s a very good chance that he wins overall. If Trump were to sweep these, we would just have to wait for the rest of the votes to be counted.
– To more fully understand how many votes still need to be counted in Pennsylvania, it would be good to follow https://twitter.com/sixtysixwards
– take care of yourself on Election Day. Remember to breathe, take a walk, eat, drink water.
Whew – thank you, Matt, for taking time out of this final election weekend to give our readers some advice.
I created a Twitter list (including Matt) for you to follow for Election Day information.
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