Calling For Democracy; Your Guide to Talking to Friends and Family About Voting Trump Out in 2020, Part Five: Helping Them Vote in Person.
We at OTYCD released the full Calling for Democracy post earlier this week. We promised to break it into more manageable chunks. This is another in the series.
Successful calling for democracy involves several steps, and might involve more than one follow-up to ensure that your friends and family carry through and vote for Joe Biden and the Democrats.
You’ll want to have the following tools at hand:
The website for I Will Vote:
FiveThirtyEight’s guide to How to Vote in the 2020 Election:
The phone number for I Will Vote’s hotline:
…and a document of some sort–maybe it’s digital, maybe it’s paper–you’ll use to track your efforts. It should include columns that clearly label:
Who you contacted;
When you contacted them (the day, date, and maybe the time);
The results of the call;
Whether and if you need to call them again after finding an answer to a question or solving a problem they have.
This document should reflect the fact that you need to check in with everyone again in late October, on Election Day Eve, and maybe Election Day itself to make sure they followed through with their voting plans and haven’t hit any obstacles.
Let us stress this fact: If the person has a question you can’t answer, or some other issue arises that you’re not sure how to resolve, STOP and call the I Will Vote hotline for help (833.336.8683). Do! Not! Guess! If you’re not completely sure about how to proceed, CALL AND CHECK.
If the person wants to vote at the polls, first check the In-Person Voting section of the FiveThirtyEight voter guide and see if their home state or territory has made changes to the number of polling stations offered. It’s possible that the one that they know best no longer exists, and they need to go to a different place entirely.
The website for I Will Vote has a Vote In Person section, but it won’t give instant answers. Instead, the would-be voter must plug in some identifying information themselves and choose whether they want the response by email, text, or a phone call.
What’s key here is for you to help them locate their polling place and figure out how and when they will go there.
Once again, I Will Vote has a button for that: the Confirm Where I’ll Vote button. If you plug the person’s street address into the site’s search engine, it will pop up a map marked with the polling site.
Some websites for the Secretary of State or Secretary of the Commonwealth allow voters to search for their polling places online.
If that’s not an option, try the Find My State or Local Election Office search engine at usa.gov:
You could also try searching for the city or town’s official government web site.
Look for an Election Department, a Board of Elections, an Elections Commission, a Registrar of Voters, an Elections Administrator or supervisor. Email or call the number listed for the relevant entity, and ask where and when to hand-deliver a ballot.
If you get stuck, call the I Will Vote hotline for help (833.336.8683).
Once you know the location of the person’s polling place and the hours in which it will be open, ask:
When–what time of day–will you go to the polls?
How will you travel to and from the polls?
Get them to think out their plan in at least that much detail.
If they need a ride to the polls, and you have transportation and you live close enough, offer to take them there and back. (We at OTYCD assume you’ll vote early, absentee, etc., to free yourself to help others vote on November 3, 2020.)
If you don’t live close enough to chauffeur them, offer to pay for a taxi, Lyft, Uber, bus, or subway ticket. (Follow through on the offer late on November 2 or Election Day to lessen the chance that the funds get spent on something else.)
If they need a mask, hand sanitizer, or new pens, offer to supply them. Drop them off if you live close enough. Have them delivered otherwise.
If they need child care, elder care, or some other form of coverage so they can go to the polls, and you can step in, offer that help.
If they work with you, offer to cover a shift so they can vote.
If they work for you, give them paid time off (PTO) to vote.
If they realize they probably won’t be able to get time off work to vote, scroll up and steer them to voting by another means.
Congratulations! You’ve walked the person through the process of voting for Biden and other Democratic candidates.
Is this a lot of work? Yes! But you can’t move someone to the late October column until you’ve helped them hammer out a specific, detailed plan to vote for Biden and down-ballot Democratic candidates.
The late October column bears that name because it’s not technically the “completed” column.
You’ll need to follow up with everyone who hammered out a plan to vote and make sure they actually did, or will, vote.
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I Will Vote and its hotline are provided by the Democratic National Committee. The hotline is staffed by volunteers.
There’s no direct way to earmark funds for the I Will Vote service, but you can put I Will Vote in the memo line of a personal check.
Checks should be made out to the Democratic National Committee and mailed to:
Democratic National Committee
PO Box 96585
Washington DC 20077-7242
FiveThirtyEight is the brainchild of Nate Silver.