Okay guys! We are one weekend away from the election – are you ready for it? Do you have a plan? I’m going to try to make this very simple for you. Here are few things you can do to plan for Election Day aka November 6th!
I get that it’s Friday already, but what better day to early vote after work? No one will be there! Then you can go out and celebrate. You can check if your state has early voting at vote.org/early-voting-calendar. If your state has early voting, you will need to contact your election office to find out the locations. This is not as complicated as it sounds, and no, you don’t need to use your phone to *GASP* call anyone. All I did was google “early voting + my ZIP CODE” and the first two articles had info about my early voting locations and times. (I did not actually use the “+” in my google search.) My county has several locations all open for various times and on Saturdays. One location is open Sunday. So you may have those options people. I also tried that google search “early voting zip code” with other zip codes in my state. It worked for all of them. Google is your friend. If you don’t want to or can’t early vote, I have your Election Day essentials ready below!
Have an Election Day (Nov 6th) Plan
1) Determine Your Polling Location
If you can’t vote early, have a plan for Election Day. It’s Tuesday, November 6th so you are probably scheduled to work at some point during the day. First, start by figuring out your polling location. You can do that by entering your address here. It will have the times it is open. Then use google maps to figure out how far it is from your home and work along with the best route.
2) Talk to Your Boss
Next, if you need to, talk to your boss about coming in late, leaving early, going during a lunch hour or even taking the day off if you have to and/or can. You can find a breakdown of state laws on voting rights/taking time off right here. If you scroll down, they have each state and how the laws work for you. Double check them and plan accordingly.
You might not have to take anytime or ask your boss to come in late or leave early. Most polling locations open pretty early. Mine opens at 6 am and closes at 7 pm so there is some wiggle room in either direction. If it’s possible, I suggest going right when it opens to maybe avoid lines.
3) Be Prepared for a Line
As the good hosts of Pod Save America said earlier this week, EVERY STATE IS A SWING STATE. In particular, some areas are so hot right now and have few polling locations so you might have a long line. That’s okay because if you’ve planned accordingly it should be NBD with your employer. You can keep yourself entertained on your phone (use low power mode to conserve your battery), bring a book or magazine and maybe even some snacks. I’d suggest maybe avoiding bevies like water and coffee in case you have to run to the bathroom – you wouldn’t want to lose your spot especially if you stuck in between two unfriendly people.
What happens if your location closes but you are still in line? Some states have laws saying you still have the right to vote. Other states still allow you to vote. I tried to find a comprehensive breakout of the laws somewhere and couldn’t. Here are two good articles about what to do – here and here. But in a nutshell, don’t get out of line – you can probably still vote.
4) Consider Your Child Care Situation
If you don’t have kids, you can skip this part. If you do – guess what? You can bring your kids with you. Yay! Never too early to start getting them involved in the democratic process of voting. I actually have VERY distinct memories of going with my mom to vote when I was a kid. It was a big deal for her, and hopefully, I can make it a big deal for my baby girl. Again, rules vary by state – please see these two articles breaking them down – whattoexpect.com and thestir.cafemom.com. The trickiest is some states limit the number of children you can bring in the booth itself. So if you are single parent with three or more, maybe have the oldest stand outside of the booth and make it fast? Consider going with a neighbor, family member or friend and take turns with the kids? Also, your kids cannot be disruptive so bring entertainment and snacks! Always snacks, man. If you don’t want to drag them at all, maybe find childcare for the day or utilize the time they are already with their childcare.
5) Voter ID Laws
Voter ID laws are a thing and you need to know if they affect you. When you click on your state on vote.org, you can scroll and see what your Voter ID requirements are. Here is a link to Alabama’s page. They have strict voter ID laws. On the flip side, in Illinois you only need documentation if you are a first time registered voter. You can see that break out right here.
6) What to do if someone tries to prevent you from voting
First off, I’m sorry if this is a fear you are facing. Your vote matters so much, and you should not have to deal with this kind of crap. Unfortunately, it does happen. Secondly, I’m not an expert in this or a lawyer, so I am going to refer to the ALCU because they are. Please see their webpage on Voter’s Rights.
I can’t believe this is even a topic, but we live in a world of “social media or it didn’t happen.” Selfies in the videoing booth and/or with your ballot are illegal in some states. Since most of you are Illinoisans like myself – yes, they are ILLEGAL in Illinois. Do NOT take a selfie with your ballot or in the booth at all. Check this list by the AP for your state. Also, here is a more recent article. Again, google is your friend so you can always google your state and ballot selfie. Finally, when in doubt, just don’t do it. You can always take a selfie with your voting sticker outside, in your car, on a train, at work, IDGAF where except for in the booth with your GD ballot!
8) KNOW YOU CANDIDATES!
I feel weird about putting this as 8 because it’s INSANELY important to know who you are voting for and why. So to start, you should figure out what issues are important to you. The biggest issues right now are healthcare, social secure, medicare/medicaid, women’s rights, LGBTQ+ right, immigration and mental health protections. I’m just going to break down two of these topics very quickly because they are on the immediate chopping block; however, all of them are extremely important.
Healthcare – Preexisting Conditions:
Right now, like imminently, republicans have said they will gut the Affordable Care Act’s laws the protect preexisting conditions. If you don’t know what a preexisting condition is here is a list. BTW pregnancy is a preexisting condition so if you’ve had a baby or plan on having a baby then you are at risk. To keep it extremely simple, if they get rid of this protection and your or someone you know has a preexisting condition, the insurance company can drop you from your plan. It would also allow insurance companies to charge you or that person more. That’s hot fucking garbage.
So what you need to do is find out if your current representative have voted in favor of getting rid of preexisting conditions or if the people running are in favor of that. Spoiler alert (and not to be a biased person) but if they are republican they have probably voted for getting rid of them or are in favor of getting rid of them. That’s simple not cool and unacceptable because everyone should have a right to healthcare.
Finally, this is not just at the federal level. Obviously, the U.S. Congress reps are deciding this on a national level and you should vote accordingly for those people, but on a state level, you need to be voting for people who are going to protect preexisting conditions as well. States can enact their on laws when it comes to healthcare so it’s important to vote in line with that on the state level as well.
Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid:
OMG Mandi – I’m like 30 something years old so why should I give a shit about social security, medicare and medicaid because I’m probably not going to get any of it anyways?! Well, first of all, stop only thinking of yourself for a hot second and realize that millions of people need and rely on these things. Your own parents who have or are hoping to retire probably rely on medicare for insurance and maybe a little bit of social security to supplement their savings. And if you can’t get past your own self interest, you’ve been paying into this since you probably got your first job at 15 like I have and maybe want a piece of it for yourself someday. Mitch McConnell said the only way to make up for the additional TRILLION PLUS dollars the tax cut added to the debt is by cutting social security, medicare and medicaid. Thanks Mitch! So watch your back, your parents’ backs, your neighbors’, friends’, family’s, coworkers’ – basically EVERYONE’S backs cuz they are coming to gut that safety net for everyone.
Here are some GREAT places to find out more about the candidates on your ballot. You can start at these sites and go to the candidates sites and continue to google them to find out more about their positions. Please do the research and figure out what these people believe in. It’s really important.
All right – you made it to the end or you just scrolled down here because it was TL and you DR. In case that was you, here is a brief summary. First – early vote, if you can’t have a plan! Plan is Election day is Tuesday November 6th, find your polling location, be prepared, VOTE and then if you have to, take a selfie OUTSIDE of the polling location with your sticker! Lets go Team America – FUCK YEA!
Peace out voters!