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Calling For Democracy: The Guide for Talking to Friends and Family About Voting Trump Out–Here Are URLs to All Six Parts on One Page

Calling for Democracy: Your Guide to Talking to Friends and Family About Voting Trump Out–here are the URLs for all six parts gathered on one page.

A while back we published Calling for Democracy: Your Guide to Talking to Friends and Family About Voting Trump Out, first as one long whole and then as six individual parts, to make it more manageable.

We’ve since realized we haven’t yet gathered the URLs for the six parts on one page, so you don’t have to hunt for them.

Here they are, in one place, so you can bookmark one thing and not six:

Part One: https://onethingyoucando.com/2020/09/04/calling-for-democracy-your-guide-to-being-that-guy-part-one-sort-your-contacts/

Part Two: https://onethingyoucando.com/2020/09/05/calling-for-democracy-your-guide-to-being-that-guy-part-two-asking-friends-and-family-about-voting-in-2020/

Part Three: https://onethingyoucando.com/2020/09/06/calling-for-democracy-your-guide-to-being-that-guy-part-three-are-they-registered-to-vote/

Part Four: https://onethingyoucando.com/2020/09/07/calling-for-democracy-your-guide-to-being-that-guy-part-four-helping-them-vote-early-absentee-via-dropbox-hand-carrying-their-ballot-to-the-right-office-etc/

Part Five: https://onethingyoucando.com/2020/09/08/calling-for-democracy-your-guide-to-being-that-guy-part-five-helping-them-vote-in-person/

Part Six: https://onethingyoucando.com/2020/09/09/calling-for-democracy-your-guide-to-being-that-guy-part-six-follow-up-with-everyone-starting-in-late-october/

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The FEC Q3 Deadline is One Week from Today (The Last Big Quarterly Deadline Before the 2020 Election!)

Headsup: The FEC third-quarter deadline for 2020–the last big quarterly donation deadline before the fall election–is one week from today.

 

We’re giving you this headsup because quarterly donation hauls matter to candidates.

 

It doesn’t just matter to presidential candidates, either. The quarterly deadlines matter to House and Senate candidates, too.

 

Big donors look at the quarterly numbers and weigh them carefully when considering which candidates to support with their own dollars.

 

If you need to budget strategically, aim to give toward the end of the fiscal quarters.

 

If you’re already giving monthly and have some to spare, aim to give before midnight on September 30. Your money is extra-magical then.

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!

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Support National Voter Registration Day on Tuesday, September 22, 2020

We at OTYCD are re-running this post that appeared earlier in September 2020 because today is National Voter Registration Day.

Support National Voter Registration Day, which takes place this year on Tuesday, September 22, 2020.

If you’re not registered, you can’t vote. And you know from using the OTYCD guide to talking to friends and family about voting Trump out in 2020 that voter registration deadlines start hitting in early October.

National Voter Registration Day has been a thing since 2012. Since then, nearly three million Americans have registered to vote thanks to NVRD efforts, with more than one million of those registering between 2018 and 2019.

The NVRD movement takes on extra importance in 2020. One of the reasons Trump won was due to who didn’t vote.

Two out of five people who were eligible to vote in 2016–40 percent!–failed to cast a ballot.

If a fraction of those nonvoters make their voices heard in 2020, Joe Biden could win in a landslide.

Please check out the information below about National Voter Registration Day. If you’re already registered, or there aren’t any events in your area, please spread the word on social media in the days leading up to September 22.

See the website for National Voter Registration Day:

See the United States Election Assistance Commission page on National Voter Registration Day:

https://www.eac.gov/national-voter-registration-day-a-nationwide-partnership-for-participation

Like National Voter Registration Day on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/NatlVoterRegDay/

Follow National Voter Registration Day on Twitter:

@NatlVoterRegDay

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!

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Call Your Senators and Demand that They Honor Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Final Wish, and Ask Friends and Family to Call Their Senators

Repeating this today because we need to keep the pressure on until McConnell, or four GOP Senators, promise not to hold a vote on filling Ginsburg’s seat until after the 2021 inauguration. Please keep calling your two Senators on this matter and please ask your friends and family to keep calling.

Call your two Senators and demand that they honor Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s final wish. Ask friends and family to call their Senators.

During the evening of September 18, 2020, which also happened to be the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, faithful servant of the Supreme Court of the United States, died and joined the immortals. She was 87.

Even if you were trying to take a vacation from the news that day, it almost certainly found you.

2020 was already a shitshow of epic proportions. Ginsburg’s death less than 60 days from the presidential election amps up a situation that needed no amping.

So, first, a bit of advice:

Mourn.

Rest.

Rage-donate to Democratic candidates for Senate.

Do what you have to do to right yourself.

Then come back ready to fight. Be ready to fight for Ginsburg and all she stood for. It’s what she would want.

As Amanda Litman tweeted on the night: May her memory be a revolution.

The first move in the fight is calling your two Senators (not your House Rep, judicial nominees are a Senate thing), and telling them you demand that they honor Ginsburg’s dying request:

“My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell already made the stupid, power-hungry move when he announced, less than an hour after news of Ginsburg’s death, that “President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.”

In fairness, he waited just as long after the February 2016 death of Ginsburg’s friend and colleague, Antonin Scalia, to tell the world his seat would remain vacant until after the presidential election.

But notice the way McConnell worded that statement: “President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.”

He didn’t give a date for when that would happen.

If we all shout, NOW, and keep shouting every day, in the form of calling our Senators with updated comments on the need to honor Ginsburg’s final wish, we could get McConnell to back down.

McConnell was already in danger of losing the Senate majority. Ramming through a Trump-chosen replacement for Ginsburg before the election or the inauguration could doom him.

Let’s make that very, very clear to him and his colleagues–you do this, you lose control of the Senate, and several sitting GOP Senators go, too.

Celeste Pewter, as usual, is On It. Below is her sample calling script to use with your Senators. Below that, please find information about how to support Celeste and her great work.

As always, please show your appreciation for Celeste Pewter in some fashion for the calling scripts reproduced further up the post.

You can follow her on Twitter: @Celeste_Pewter

You can tweet about calling your MoCs, using the #ICalledMyReps hashtag.

You can follow @ICalledMyReps on Twitter.

And you can support her with a small donation through Ko-fi:

https://ko-fi.com/A012IFW

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the blue button on the upper right or checking the About & Subscribe page. And tell your friends about the blog!

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Call Your Senators and Demand that They Honor Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Final Wish, and Ask Friends and Family to Call Their Senators

Call your two Senators and demand that they honor Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s final wish. Ask friends and family to call their Senators.

During the evening of September 18, 2020, which also happened to be the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, faithful servant of the Supreme Court of the United States, died and joined the immortals. She was 87.

Even if you were trying to take a vacation from the news that day, it almost certainly found you.

2020 was already a shitshow of epic proportions. Ginsburg’s death less than 60 days from the presidential election amps up a situation that needed no amping.

So, first, a bit of advice:

Mourn.

Rest.

Rage-donate to Democratic candidates for Senate.

Do what you have to do to right yourself.

Then come back ready to fight. Be ready to fight for Ginsburg and all she stood for. It’s what she would want.

As Amanda Litman tweeted on the night: May her memory be a revolution.

The first move in the fight is calling your two Senators (not your House Rep, judicial nominees are a Senate thing), and telling them you demand that they honor Ginsburg’s dying request:

“My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell already made the stupid, power-hungry move when he announced, less than an hour after news of Ginsburg’s death, that “President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.”

In fairness, he waited just as long after the February 2016 death of Ginsburg’s friend and colleague, Antonin Scalia, to tell the world his seat would remain vacant until after the presidential election.

But notice the way McConnell worded that statement: “President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.”

He didn’t give a date for when that would happen.

If we all shout, NOW, and keep shouting every day, in the form of calling our Senators with updated comments on the need to honor Ginsburg’s final wish, we could get McConnell to back down.

McConnell was already in danger of losing the Senate majority. Ramming through a Trump-chosen replacement for Ginsburg before the election or the inauguration could doom him.

Let’s make that very, very clear to him and his colleagues–you do this, you lose control of the Senate, and several sitting GOP Senators go, too.

Celeste Pewter, as usual, is On It. Below is her sample calling script to use with your Senators. Below that, please find information about how to support Celeste and her great work.

As always, please show your appreciation for Celeste Pewter in some fashion for the calling scripts reproduced further up the post.

You can follow her on Twitter: @Celeste_Pewter

You can tweet about calling your MoCs, using the #ICalledMyReps hashtag.

You can follow @ICalledMyReps on Twitter.

And you can support her with a small donation through Ko-fi:

https://ko-fi.com/A012IFW

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the blue button on the upper right or checking the About & Subscribe page. And tell your friends about the blog!

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Take a Break Every Now and Again. It’ll Help You Stop Trump.

This OTYCD entry originally posted in June 2017. It’s an old favorite, and it appears on our page devoted to The Most Important Thing You Can Do. We are reposting it periodically as a reminder that you can, and should, take a break from the news while you are obeying lockdown/self-isolation/quarantine during COVID-19. Do you need our formal dispensation to step away from the news and everywhere you receive it? Then you have it, here, and now. Step away. Exercise. Play a board game or a video game. Read a book or watch a movie that has nothing whatsoever to do with politics. Rest up. You’ve got to stay here to carry on the fight

For your own sanity’s sake, plan periodic breaks from fighting Trump and his ilk.

With so much going on, it might be tough to convince yourself to step away and rest. But you must if you want to fight Trump and the Republicans effectively. No, really. You’ve heard people say ‘This is a marathon, not a sprint’? It’s not a bunch of yap-yap. You can’t go the distance if you don’t slow down to grab some water every now and again.

You need to sit yourself down and plan these respites, and you need to commit to them. Blocking out one day a week where you disengage from the news and from social media to do something you like–be it hiking, knitting, reading, hanging out with friends, or binge-watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer–put it on your calendar and don’t talk yourself out of it.

If you’re having trouble giving yourself permission to take one day off a week, then let us at OTYCD tell it to you straight:

“We, your friends at the One Thing You Can Do blog, are telling you, our faithful reader, to unplug and chill out completely once a week. We are giving you formal permission to do so.”

Print it out and tape it to your mirror, or your computer monitor, or staple it to your forehead–whatever it takes to get through to you.

If you won’t listen to OTYCD on this, follow Jen Hofmann on Twitter and subscribe to her Weekly Activism Checklist newsletter. She’s a fire-breathing evangelist for self-care.

Follow Jen Hofmann on Twitter:

@inspiredjen

Sign up for her Weekly Activism Checklist:

Like her on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/Jennifer-Hofmann-463228547169366/

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!

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Calling for Democracy; Your Guide to Talking to Friends and Family About Voting Trump Out in 2020

We at OTYCD published this comprehensive guide earlier in September 2020. We will repeat it in full a few more times before October 5, 2020, when the first voter registration deadline expires.

Calling for Democracy: Your Guide to Talking to Friends and Family About Voting Trump Out in 2020

This is an elaboration on a recent post that asked you to Be That Guy–to call your friends and family, urge them to vote for Joe Biden and other down-ballot Democrats, and walk them through how to do it.

We at OTYCD have said over and over that it can’t just be you going to the polls or mailing or delivering a ballot this year. You have to bring others with you, metaphorically or literally.

Calling for Democracy guides you through this process in detail, with scripts and tools you can rely upon when shepherding friends and family through the process of voting in 2020.

Warning: This post is LONG, because it covers a lot of what-ifs.

It’s also repetitive, deliberately, so you don’t have to keep scrolling up to find needed phone numbers and URLs.

We’ll follow it with subsequent posts that break this main post into more digestible chunks, but we need to get it all out in one piece now for those who want to get started.

Please read the whole post before starting work.

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.

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:

iwillvote.com

FiveThirtyEight’s guide to How to Vote in the 2020 Election:

https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/how-to-vote-2020/

The phone number for I Will Vote’s hotline:

833.336.8683.

…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.

The first thing you need to do, before calling or texting anyone, is to sort your contacts.

Look through your list of contacts (or your address book, or your Rolodex–whatever system you use to organize them) and place each name in one of these categories:

Known Democrats who vote often or always

Likely Democrats whose voting records aren’t clear to you

Never-Trump Republicans who vote often or always

Never-Trump Republicans whose voting records aren’t clear to you

Known Independents who vote often or always

Likely Independents whose voting records aren’t clear to you

People whose voting records aren’t clear to you, but who you think would welcome your offer of help with voting for Biden and other Democrats

Do not bother with committed Trump voters.

Only focus on friends and family who fit one of the seven descriptions above.

Once you’ve finished that sort, perform a second sort to identify the people in each group who live close enough for you to help in person if need be.

IMPORTANT: Don’t leave out American friends and family members living outside the country. You can rely on Democrats Abroad, which helps those folks cast a ballot.

The Democrats Abroad site is linked below, and the front page of the site features a work-around to access voter information pages of theirs that have been geo-blocked, aka made inaccessible to people living in certain geographic areas:

https://www.democratsabroad.org/heidi/geo-blocked_voter_information_pages_why_it_s_happening_and_how_you_can_fix_it

IMPORTANT: Don’t leave out friends and family who are away at college or university. The Campus Vote Project’s State Student Guides can help. It’s linked directly below.

https://www.campusvoteproject.org/state-student-voting-guides

Now you’re ready to communicate directly with someone you know.

We at OTYCD recommend starting with those you listed in the “Known Democrats Who Vote Often or Always” category–the people with whom you’re likely to have the most success–and working your way down until you’ve spoken with everyone who fits a category.

Before you try them, sit and think about the person, and think about when and how they prefer to be reached: Text? Email? Phone? DM?

Remember, your role here is to make voting for Biden and down-ballot Democrats as convenient for THEM as possible.

For example, if you’re not a phone person, but they are, do what you need to do to place yourself in a frame of mind that will let you talk over the phone, and give yourself time to decompress afterward.

You should have these tools at hand:

The I Will Vote website and voter hotline

The FiveThirtyEight guide

This OTYCD story

Your contact-tracking document

A notebook or other piece of scrap paper, so you can take notes while the other person speaks

Let us stress this fact: If you have ANY concerns or questions about how to advise people to proceed with the voting process–any at all–call the I Will Vote hotline and ask for help. Make no assumptions.

Here’s a sample script you can use, but please tailor it to your own personality and to that of the person you’re trying to reach. <Instructions in brackets are for you; act upon them, but don’t read them out loud>:

“Hi, <Name.> I realize this is a little odd, because I don’t normally/never do this sort of thing, but I’m concerned about the 2020 election, and I’m talking to all my friends and family about voting. Do you have a minute?”

If now is bad, ask when would be a good time for you to try again.

If they’re noncommittal, make a note on your tracking document to try again after three days.

If now is good, say something like:

“I’ve seen what Trump has done to democracy in this country, and I’m going to vote for Joe Biden and other Democratic candidates so we can fix that damage. Are you voting for Biden for president, and for other down-ballot Democrats?”

If they seem offended that you asked, change the subject or end the conversation.

Think about whether you should wait three days or longer before trying that person again, or whether you should cross their name off your tracking document. Act accordingly.

If they say something like “I’m not sure,” or “I don’t know if I even want to vote,” or “I haven’t made up my mind,” ask them “Why? What concerns do you have?” and LISTEN TO THEIR ANSWER. Use the notebook or scrap paper to write down key points they make.

If they say they’re worried that their vote won’t count, say something like:

“I understand how you feel. I feel like that sometimes. But I figure that if my vote didn’t matter, Trump and the Republicans wouldn’t be trying so hard to stop me from casting a ballot for Biden and other Democratic candidates.”

If they ask you to back your claim, cite this FiveThirtyEight story link on Five Ways Trump and GOP Officials are Undermining the Election Process. (Since we published this post, FiveThirtyEight released a September 2020 update story, The Latest on Republican Efforts to Make it Harder to Vote, which you should also review and use in your conversation.)

If they say they’re worried about going to the polls during the COVID-19 panic, say something like:

“You can vote without going to the polls on the day. I can walk you through your options for <name the state or territory where the person lives>. The first step is getting you registered to vote. Are you registered? Have you checked your registration lately?” <Scroll down to find the section on registering to vote and go from there.>

If they say they’re worried that Trump is sabotaging the flow of mail through the United States Postal Service (USPS), and their ballot might arrive too late to be counted, say something like:

“That’s a legitimate concern. Trump’s chosen postmaster general, Louis DeJoy, has implemented policies that have had the effect of slowing the mail.”

“You can still cast a ballot without putting it in the mail or going to the polls. I can tell you how to do that.” <Then scroll down to the sections on voting early, using a dropbox, and hand-delivering a completed ballot to the relevant government office near them.>

If they say that they’re worried Trump will cheat or send cops to the polls or somehow stop them from voting, say something like:

Making people feel mad or anxious or depressed about voting is itself a voter suppression tactic. They are trying to keep you from the polls however they can.”

“Trump doesn’t want you to vote unless you’re voting for him. He’ll say whatever he thinks he needs to say to scare away people who won’t vote for him.”

“The only way to fight back is to spite him and vote for Biden and other Democratic candidates, regardless of whatever crazy stunt Trump pulls. I’m urging you to stay firm and make your voice heard.”

You can also draw on these paragraphs from Barack Obama’s speech at the August 2020 Democratic National Convention:

“Well, here’s the point: this president and those in power — those who benefit from keeping things the way they are — they are counting on your cynicism. They know they can’t win you over with their policies. So they’re hoping to make it as hard as possible for you to vote, and to convince you that your vote doesn’t matter. That’s how they win. That’s how they get to keep making decisions that affect your life, and the lives of the people you love. That’s how the economy will keep getting skewed to the wealthy and well-connected, how our health systems will let more people fall through the cracks. That’s how a democracy withers, until it’s no democracy at all.

We can’t let that happen. Do not let them take away your power. Don’t let them take away your democracy. Make a plan right now for how you’re going to get involved and vote. Do it as early as you can and tell your family and friends how they can vote too. Do what Americans have done for over two centuries when faced with even tougher times than this — all those quiet heroes who found the courage to keep marching, keep pushing in the face of hardship and injustice.”

The New York Times provided a full transcript of the Obama speech, with commentary:

If they say they don’t know how to vote, or it’s been so long since they voted, or they’re scared off by the whole idea of voting, say something like:

“That’s why I got in touch. I’m willing to do some work for you, whatever you need, so you can cast a ballot successfully in 2020. I’ll look up stuff, I’ll make calls, I’ll send emails, I’ll get you the answers you need so you can vote for Biden and other Democrats safely in the election–whatever you need, I’ll do it, or I’ll do as much of it as I reasonably can.”

<Don’t pause here. Roll straight into:>

“Let me start by asking if you’re registered to vote. Are you registered to vote?”

If they say “No” or “I don’t know”, pull up the I Will Vote website, and click on the “Check if I’m Registered to Vote” button.

The I Will Vote link should lead to the relevant web page for the official who oversees elections in that person’s state (it’s either the Secretary of State or the Secretary of the Commonwealth), and probably leads directly to the page that lets them check if they’re registered to vote.

If the person is registered, have them take a screenshot of the page and save it, in case they need it as evidence. Then scroll down to the section below on choosing how to vote.

If the person is not registered, help them register.

It is OK for you to type their information into the relevant forms on their state or territory’s website. (If they are deployed with the military or living outside the country for other reasons, scroll to the bottom of I Will Vote‘s Register to Vote page and select that option. If you hit a snag, call the I Will Vote hotline: 833.336.8683.)

You can also offer to send them the relevant link from I Will Vote and talk them through the process of registering online.

Once they have completed an online registration, have them take a screenshot and save it, in case they need it as evidence.

If they insist on printing out and mailing their registration, talk them through that. <This assumes they have their own printer, and assumes the printer has sufficient toner. If neither is true, steer them to doing things online instead.>

If they haven’t got stamps or an envelope, offer to give them those things or offer to reimburse them, if you are able.

Have them take a photograph of the sealed envelope before mailing, in case they need it later as evidence.

Encourage them to mail the forms right away.

Most deadlines to register to vote fall in October.

If you plug the person’s state or territory into the OTYCD search engine, the first article to come up should be the one that gives the relevant deadline.

Click the link, scroll down, and the deadline should be there in big shouty bold type. The person has to complete their registration to vote on or before that date.

Make a note on your tracking sheet to follow up with them after three business days to confirm that their registration attempt went through.

If three more days pass without the voter registration reaching completion, or you hit some other weird snag, call the I Will Vote hotline for help: 833.336.8683.

Once you’ve squared away registering them to vote, you should move on to the question of how they prefer to vote.

Before you ask them this question, look up the person’s home state or territory in the FiveThirtyEight guide to see what their options are. For example, many but not all offer some form of early voting. You should know if that’s possible before you suggest it.

You should see if the state or territory’s entry on the FiveThirtyEight guide includes a What We’re Watching section, in case something’s lurking there that the prospective voter should know about.

Say something like: “How would you like to cast your ballot? Do you want to vote at the polls in person on November 3, 2020, or do you want to vote early, or by absentee ballot?”

FWIW, we at OTYCD favor requesting an absentee ballot, filling it out at home, and hand-delivering it to the relevant government office, be it a county elections board, City Hall, etc. Hand-delivering sidesteps the possible delays that mailing the ballot might pose. (We admit that this voting option, as we describe it here, is not available universally in the United States.)

If they want to vote early, have them go to the I Will Vote page and click the Vote In Person option. It includes information on early voting.

If they want to vote by absentee ballot, two steps are required: requesting the ballot, and submitting the ballot.

The FiveThirtyEight guide lists the relevant details for each state and territory, including:

Deadlines for applying for an absentee ballot;

Whether or not the voter needs to include a photocopy of a photo I.D. with the absentee ballot;

Whether or not the voter needs at least one witness when signing the absentee ballot;

If the voter must cite an excuse for voting absentee, and if COVID-19 counts as an acceptable excuse;

Whether or not the voter’s state or territory is among those automatically mailing ballots to everyone who’s registered;

Deadlines for submitting an absentee ballot.

Alternately, you can assist the person in filling out the absentee ballot option on I Will Vote by sending them the link and talking them through the process, if need be.

IMPORTANT: When requesting an absentee ballot, you CANNOT fill in the information on their behalf. They must enter the data themselves. (Some states and territories make exceptions that allow immediate family members to do this for other immediate family members. Again, if you hit a snag, call the I Will Vote hotline: 833.336.8683.)

Once they receive their absentee ballot, offer to talk them through filling it out and returning it.

Here’s a checklist for completing and preparing a ballot:

Has the person read and understood the instructions that came with the ballot? (If they have any questions about the instructions, call the I Will Vote hotline: 833.336.8683.)

Do the ballot instructions specify the color of ink that must be used? (If they do, it’s either blue or black.) Does the person have at least two fresh pens filled with the same traditional color of ink? (In other words, do they have two new blue pens, OR two new black pens?) If not, can you send them pens or help them purchase acceptable pens?

Has the person filled in or otherwise addressed every section or area of the ballot that should be marked? <Is the Joe Biden bubble correctly marked? Are the bubbles for other down-ballot Democratic candidates marked?>

Do they need to include a photocopy of a photo ID with their ballot? <If they do, and they haven’t yet photocopied their photo ID, stop the process and help them get this document. You might need to go to a Staples or a public library and pay to have a photocopy made. DO NOT seal the ballot until the photocopy is tucked into the envelope.>

Do they need a witness for their signature? <If they do, and you can serve as a witness, please make the offer and agree on a time for you to swing by. If you can’t step in, help the person brainstorm a list of potential witnesses. DO NOT seal the ballot until the witness has seen the person sign it in all areas where it needs to be signed.>

Does the outer envelope require a signature? <Figure this out before the witness shows up, so they don’t leave before the job is done!>

Have they signed every area of the ballot that demands a signature? <Again, make sure to identify all places that call for signatures and get them done in the same sitting.>

Do they need to apply postage to their ballot? If so, how much postage? (A first-class stamp, which costs 55 cents, should suffice. If they don’t have stamps, offer to give them one or reimburse them for it.)

IMPORTANT: It’s crucial that the person signs the ballot everywhere that a signature is required. (Below, we repeat the detailed checklist for what to do before sealing the ballot envelope.) A missed signature can invalidate a ballot.

IMPORTANT: The United States Postal Service (USPS) recently changed its policies to forbid mail carriers from witnessing ballot signatures. The person’s short list of potential ballot witnesses should not include whomever delivers their mail.

…AND A SPECIALTY TOOL, JUST FOR THIS SECTION: If the person needs a notary to serve as a witness, use the National Notary Association search engine:

https://www.nationalnotary.org/resources-for/public/find-a-notary

COVID-19 restrictions makes signature-witnessing a tad more difficult than in a normal election year.

If the witness can see the person sign the ballot, everything’s good.

That means it’s OK for the witness to watch the voter through a window or a sliding glass door as they sign their ballot.

Submitting the ballot will be the more fraught action of the two.

If the person wants to mail it back (Snopes states that postage stamps are not generally required on ballots, but certain counties do demand some measure of postage. If there’s any question, go ahead and put a 55-cent stamp on the envelope, or call the I Will Vote hotline for advice: 833.336.8683), it must enter the mail stream early enough for it to arrive on time.

The meaning of “early enough” will vary for each state and territory, but earlier is better, and earliest is best. Those who intend to mail their ballots should complete and return them as soon as possible (ASAP).

Some states and territories offer dedicated drop boxes for ballots.

Hand-carrying the ballot to the relevant city or town office works, too.

If the person needs a ride to the drop box or their relevant municipal office and you’re able to drive them there, make the offer.

If they ask you to hand-deliver their ballot to a drop box or their relevant municipal office, things get hairier. Depending on where the person lives, it may be illegal for you to do this on their behalf.

In many places, it’s also OK for a voter to deliver their completed ballot to their local polling location on Election Day.

If you have any doubts about whether you’re allowed to deliver a ballot on behalf of someone else, call the I Will Vote hotline and ask (833.336.8683).

Neither the FiveThirtyEight guide or the I Will Vote site appears to give an option for finding drop boxes or finding out where, exactly, to hand-deliver a ballot.

You can call the I Will Vote hotline for help (833.336.8683), or you can try hunting down the information to spare your friend or family member the trouble.

You can try the Find My State or Local Election Office search engine at usa.gov:

https://www.usa.gov/election-office

If you know the city and state or town and state where they live, you could search 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.

Remind the person to check their ballot carefully before sealing it inside its envelope.

Again, here’s the checklist:

Has the person read and understood the instructions that came with the ballot? (If they have any questions about the instructions, call the I Will Vote hotline: 833.336.8683.)

Do the ballot instructions specify the color of ink that must be used? (If they do, it’s either blue or black.) Does the person have at least two fresh pens filled with the same traditional color of ink? (In other words, do they have two new blue pens, OR two new black pens?) If not, can you send them pens or help them purchase acceptable pens?

Has the person filled in or otherwise addressed every section or area of the ballot that must be marked?

Do they need to include a photocopy of a photo ID with their ballot? <If they do, and they haven’t yet photocopied their photo ID, stop the process and help them get this document. You might need to go to a Staples or a public library and pay to have a photocopy made. DO NOT seal the ballot until the photocopy is tucked into the envelope.>

Do they need a witness for their signature? <If they do, and you can serve as a witness, please make the offer and hammer out a time to swing by. If you can’t, help the person brainstorm a list of potential witnesses. DO NOT seal the ballot until the witness can see the person sign it.>

Does the outer envelope require a signature? <Figure this out before the witness shows up, so they don’t leave before the job is done!>

Have they signed every area of the ballot that demands a signature?

Do they need to apply postage to their ballot? If so, how much postage? (A first-class stamp, which costs 55 cents, should suffice. If they don’t have stamps and need them, offer to give them the stamp or reimburse them for it.)

If you or they hit some weird snag, call the I Will Vote hotline for help: 833.336.8683. You might need to break off the conversation with your friend or family member and get back to them later with the answer.

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:

https://www.usa.gov/election-office

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.

Starting on Sunday, October 25, 2020, check in with everyone on your list who voted any other way except in-person.

Ask how things are going. Ask if they need help with anything.

If they haven’t received some sort of confirmation that their ballots were received, help them follow up with the relevant authorities to see what happened.

If their ballot has gone missing, help them brainstorm a Plan B for voting.

Stand ready to call the I Will Vote hotline (833.336.8683).

Follow up with those who chose to vote in person on November 2, 2020 and make sure they have everything they need to cast a ballot. Follow up with them again on Election Day.

Again, stand ready to call the I Will Vote hotline (833.336.8683).

…and if you thought of something we missed, or notice something that now needs updating, email us at

onethingyoucando   at    gmail   dot   com

…and we’ll get on it.

Thanks for reading! We’re all going to have a little lie-down now.

Stay strong. Stay safe. And vote!

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!

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

The DNC also accepts donations via ActBlue:

https://secure.actblue.com/donate/web-donate

FiveThirtyEight is the brainchild of Nate Silver.

Uncategorized

Support National Voter Registration Day on Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Support National Voter Registration Day, which takes place this year on Tuesday, September 22, 2020.

If you’re not registered, you can’t vote. And you know from using the OTYCD guide to talking to friends and family about voting Trump out in 2020 that voter registration deadlines start hitting in early October.

National Voter Registration Day has been a thing since 2012. Since then, nearly three million Americans have registered to vote thanks to NVRD efforts, with more than one million of those registering between 2018 and 2019.

The NVRD movement takes on extra importance in 2020. One of the reasons Trump won was due to who didn’t vote.

Two out of five people who were eligible to vote in 2016–40 percent!–failed to cast a ballot.

If a fraction of those nonvoters make their voices heard in 2020, Joe Biden could win in a landslide.

Please check out the information below about National Voter Registration Day. If you’re already registered, or there aren’t any events in your area, please spread the word on social media in the days leading up to September 22.

See the website for National Voter Registration Day:

See the United States Election Assistance Commission page on National Voter Registration Day:

https://www.eac.gov/national-voter-registration-day-a-nationwide-partnership-for-participation

Like National Voter Registration Day on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/NatlVoterRegDay/

Follow National Voter Registration Day on Twitter:

@NatlVoterRegDay

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!

Uncategorized

Be a Poll Worker on Election Day

*Be a poll worker on Election Day.

COVID-19 has played havoc with our lives. It’s also threatening to wreak havoc on the act of voting in person.

Not just in the obvious way, either. Yes, the threat of getting sick with a nasty airborne disease is forcing many to seek alternatives to voting at the polls. It’s also forcing veteran poll-workers to bow out of this go-round.

Most poll workers are above the age of 60. The older you are, the more vulnerable you are to catching COVID-19. Many who happily serve their communities in this way have had to say no in 2020, for their own safety.

The need for replacement volunteers is real and pressing.

If you are able to volunteer to work the polls in November, please do.

You’ll need to undergo training, and you should receive appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). Though poll workers are described as volunteers, many receive payment.

If you’re too young to vote, you might still be old enough to serve as a poll worker. In some areas, they can be as young as sixteen.

If you work at Target, Old Navy, Microsoft, or other companies that belong to the Civic Alliance, your employer will support you in poll-working with paid time off and similar benefits.

(See this September 10, 2020 Vox article, which names several companies that have pledged to help poll worker recruitment efforts: https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2020/9/10/21428934/companies-pay-employees-poll-workers-2020)

The United States Election Assistance Commission’s page for Poll Worker Recruitment Day contains a link that will help you find poll worker opportunities in your home state:

https://www.eac.gov/help-america-vote

You can also follow the @BeAPollWorker handle on Twitter.

The Power to the Polls organization hopes to recruit 250,000 people to serve as election site volunteers. See its website:

https://www.powerthepolls.org/?source=WhenWeAllVote

See the Power to the Polls About Us page:

https://www.powerthepolls.org/about

See the Power to the Polls FAQ about poll-working:

https://www.powerthepolls.org/faq

*A note: We at OTYCD don’t generally ask you to do something we wouldn’t do ourselves. Sarah Jane, the lead writer and editor for OTYCD, can’t volunteer to work the polls in 2020. So, this post represents an exception to the rule. If you can’t work the polls, please spread the word to people who can.

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!

Uncategorized

Help Postcards to Swing States (Formerly Postcards to Wisconsin and Michigan) (Updated With Mailing Deadlines on September 2, 2020)

Help Postcards to Swing States reach voters in ten critical states and remind them to cast a ballot this fall. (We at OTYCD updated this post on September 2, 2020. Scroll down to see the new information.)

 

This story comes with backstory. The folks behind Postcards to Swing States started with Postcards to Wisconsin, an effort to Get Out the Vote (GOTV) in the April 2020 Wisconsin Democratic primary.

 

That wasn’t the end of it. Their initial plans for phase two were to target Wisconsin and Michigan Democratic voters with two million GOTV postcards, nudging them to come out in the fall for the November 3, 2020 election.

 

Well, the organizers’ ambitions expanded.

 

Postcards to Swing States aims to send 13 million GOTV postcards to:

 

Arizona

Florida

Iowa

Kansas

Michigan

North Carolina

Pennsylvania

…as well as Wisconsin.

 

The campaign actually targets ten states; two of them, Montana and Maine, have since been completed by volunteers.

 

Postcards to Swing States will provide you with pre-printed postcards. You provide the stamps and the labor. You’re also given a choice of one or two scripts to hand-write.

 

Postcards should be mailed around mid-October, but each order will contain specific dates for mailing.

 

UPDATE September 2, 2020. The organizers have released the mailing deadlines for the GOTV postcards.

 

Check the instructions that came with your delivery to confirm which wave you’re in.

 

Please note: The dates for the waves are NOT in chronological order.

 

Wave One: Saturday, October 24, 2020

 

Wave Two: Wednesday, October 21, 2020

 

Wave Three: Monday, October 26, 2020

 

Wave Unknown: Wednesday, October 21, 2020

 

 

The organizers also answered three pressing questions, which we at OTYCD have cut and pasted here:

 

Will we change our mailing dates?

We’re closely monitoring the USPS delays. We’ll reevaluate our mailing dates in mid-September, which is still over a month before the first mailing date is scheduled. Our current mailing dates already anticipate some delay in mail delivery. If we change them we’ll let you know.

Why aren’t we mailing sooner?  

Our postcards will increase turnout the most if they arrive just a few days before the election. The voters we’re targeting are likely to vote on election day or not at all, so if our postcards arrive earlier, they will largely be forgotten by the time it matters. Some voters will have mail-in ballots, and our postcards will be a timely reminder to mail them in. But our postcards aren’t designed to prompt voters to request absentee ballots. Postcards aren’t very good tools for that type of valuable effort in the first place. Given the information on our postcards and the target voters, they’d be nearly useless if mailed early in hopes of getting voters to request mail-in ballots.

 

What about the USPS Delays?  

The vast majority of first class mail is still arriving on time, and less than 2% is taking longer than 5 days. The changes at the USPS are definitely problematic, but the Postal Service normally delivers 96% of first class mail in 1-3 days, with the rest arriving within 1-2 extra days. State laws that allow voters to request mail-in ballots just a few days before the election or require mail-in ballots to be received by election day require USPS to operate with extreme precision, so slight delays can disenfranchise tens of thousands of voters. But our mailing dates are between 8-13 days before the election – well within the timeframe recommended to ensure delivery. Finally, the USPS handles over 400 million pieces of mail every day, and first class mail volumes have been down every single year for a decade. In fact, the decrease in first class letters/cards from last year alone exceeds the number of postcards we’re mailing on any given day. Our 15 million postcards will in no way contribute to any delays for ballots. USPS has plenty of capacity to process first class mail. Huge increases in package volume, mail carrier absences due to COVID-19 and procedural changes by DeJoy are the causes of mail delay, not capacity.

 

<Original text follows.>

 

The smallest order you can request is for 200 postcards.

 

As of July 2020, more than 25,000 volunteers have signed up to help.

 

If you can’t join the postcard army, you can finance it instead with a donation.

 

 

See the Postcards to Swing States website:

https://postcardstoswingstates.com

 

 

See the Postcards to Swing States FAQ, which includes the language of the A and B scripts:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1xYifkfYLSNnsq9kyWKOobAhBi8-lsziLSE6oM29aUPc/edit

 

 

Donate to Postcards to Swing States:

https://secure.actblue.com/donate/postcardswimi

 

 

Like Postcards to Swing States on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/postcards2swingstates

 

 

Follow Postcards to Swing States on Twitter:

@Postcards2WI

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!