7 Productive Ways to Spend Election Day Besides Doom-Scrolling
Election Day is finally here, and for many of us, that means binge-watching the news and frantically refreshing social media. Doom-scrolling the day away, however, isn’t the most productive way we can spend the day. Here’s how several experts recommend donating your time and efforts to make sure every last vote is cast. As Shaniqua McClendon, Political Director at Crooked Media, tells Supermajority News, “Whatever you decide, just don’t sit on Twitter — it will drive you crazy.”
Make sure your friends, family and neighbors have voted or have a plan to vote.
So many advocates and activists agree: Getting those closest to you to vote is the number one way to make a difference. “The greatest thing you can do is to help those you know who need help,” says Cate Mayer, founder of the civic action group Friends Vote Together, “whether that is through a conversation, looking up a polling location for a friend who just moved or giving an elderly neighbor a ride to the polls.”
So start early, and reach out to as many people you know to make sure they have already voted or, if they haven’t, have a plan to do so before the polls close.
Blast these digits everywhere: 866-OUR-VOTE.
That’s the number for the national, nonpartisan Election Protection coalition. They’re who to call if anyone runs into problems when trying to vote (like any of these forms of voter suppression). So tweet it, post it to Facebook, and text that number to everyone you know.
Sign up for last-minute phone-banking.
With door-knocking severely limited because of the pandemic, phone-banking is the biggest get-out-the-vote “bang for your buck” impact you can make — and you can start today with minimal training. “Phone-banking has the advantage [over text-banking] that you can 100 percent confirm if you spoke to a human or not,” explains Sylvia Salazar, founder of the platform Tono Latino.
“[Phone-banking] is really just the most essential way to help Democrats win in states with tight races,” Mobilize Marketing Lead Emily Hughes told Supermajority News. “You can call straight through Election Day, and you can give voters any necessary info they need — including polling hours and COVID safety tips — to get out there and vote.”
Make one more donation.
Candidates in close races can still use funds on November 3. “For a race that is contested in court or goes into a runoff, candidates may need to keep campaigning and organizing well beyond November,” Hughes explains. McClendon adds that last-day GOTV efforts are often targeted toward “the hardest-to-reach voters,” and that “last-minute resources help them get more staff making contact with remaining voters [and] equip volunteers and staff with protective equipment and other resources to support voters at in-person polling locations.”
Because hungry voters are likelier to leave lines, José Andrés’ World Central Kitchen is planning to make free food available at polling stations across more than 20 major U.S. cities on Election Day through its Chefs for the Polls initiative, which is teaming up with local food truck vendors nationwide. Their online volunteer hub has listed opportunities to assist by helping to “properly set up [and] help hand out meals.” You can also throw a few dollars to the ever-popular Pizza to the Polls, which turns online donations into piping-hot slices for hungry voters. (Don’t forget to ask friends and family you check on if their polling location could use a few pies.) And, as Mayer notes, there’s nothing stopping you (as long as you keep COVID-19 guidelines in mind) from “driving to polling places and handing out water and snacks to voters waiting in line.”
Perform at the polls.
If you’ve got the musical chops to entertain a live audience, there’s probably a line of voters nearby who would love to hear it. That’s why Massachusetts-based cellist Mike Block, a member of the Yo-Yo Ma’s Grammy Award-winning Silkroad Ensemble, founded Play for the Vote earlier this year. The nonpartisan, grassroots, all-volunteer group has been matching up musicians with nearby polling stations where they’re free to put together their own setlist and live concert (so long as they refrain from electioneering, mask up, and maintain social distancing). While Play for the Vote planned to stop accepting applications through their website on November 1, Block told Supermajority News, “We encourage anybody interested in playing to still make it happen.”
Tell everyone you know that we probably won’t know who won before Wednesday.
Another very important piece of info to share: The vote tally will likely trickle in and patience is a must. “I would shout it from the rooftops that we will NOT know the election results on November 3,” Salazar says. “It’s very likely we will not know who won for quite some time.”