You might have heard, but there’s this election coming up in the US on Tuesday, November 3 and it’s kind of a big deal. Not just because we’ll be electing the next president, but a lot of Senators, Members of Congress, and important local and state candidates that impact life in your community in significant ways.
Here are just a few helpful resources I’ve been bookmarking to enlighten you, stress you out, or maybe de-stress you completely.
Most important to help you vote if you haven’t yet done it.
Important voting information and resourcesPhoto by Jon Tyson on Unsplash
Iwillvote.com is the best, fastest way to find out where to vote, where to drop off a ballot, how to fill it in, whether you need ID to vote in your state and more.
Vote.org offers similar info to help you confirm your registration, polling place, and more, plus it offers some handy options like setting election reminders.
States offering same day voter registration including Election Day. (Go, those states!) If you recently moved to say Michigan, Wisconsin, Nevada, and more than a dozen other states, you can still register to vote there — and actually vote — with the right identification.
Wondering how quickly your absentee/mail-in vote will be processed or pre-processed? This NY Times article, with lots of helpful charts is a good place to look.
Reporting voter intimidation and suppression
Be aware of suppression tactics in these final days. It goes without saying that NO, YOU CANNOT VOTE VIA TEXT. This is a suppression tactic disseminated by trolls to try and disenfranchise voters.
866-OURVOTE is an election protection hotline. Call if anyone is blocking your polling place, electioneering (i.e. wearing clothing or buttons that may be intended to intimidate others), trying to keep you from legally voting, or engaging in other illegal actions meant to intimidate.
You can also visit 866ourvote.org (say, it’s easier to do it silently on your phone’s browser instead of making. call.)
In fact, if anyone is keeping you from voting in any way, or trying to intimidate you, please call 866-OURVOTE or visit 866ourvote.org. You have the right to request provisional ballot, even if there is a legitimate discrepancy at your polling place.
This helpful cheat sheet of Voter Protection Hotlines by State was created by the amazing folks at Vote Save America. Right-click to download on desktop or add “save to photos” on your phone so that you can have it with you when you vote.
What can I wear to the polls? This article helps you be sure you’re in compliance so you’re not turned away. (Though no one should turn you away; at most can you turn a t-shirt inside out.)
Is a ballot selfie is legal in your state? Vox has answers.
Want to do more than doom scroll Twitter or refresh the polls all day? Visit these sites and find out how you can help by phone banking, texting, supporting swing states, and more. It’s so fulfilling — and fun! You never know which celebs might show up during an event.
If you’re motivated, host your own virtual GOTV event like phone banking /text banking with friends over Zoom for a candidate you support.
Another options is the Open Progress Turnout Troop
You can also work directly through any campaign you support, like the Biden-Harris Presidential Campaign, a Congressional campaign in your state or any other, a local campaign (like State Senator), or an organization you support like Moms Demand or RAICES.
Text three friends!
You don’t even need any training for this! One of the most impactful things you can do right this very minute: text three friends or family members, especially in swing states/counties, and remind them to vote.
Ask them if they have a voting plan, if they know where and when to vote, and help them in any way. Believe it or not, it’s proven to increase turnout by a significant number.
Where to follow the polls…AFTER you’ve done everything else
If you know what I mean by “the Nates” then you’re my people. If not, I can help!
Many top newspapers and online magazines have made election coverage free as a public service, even if you don’t have a subscription. (So no article limit.) Start with the New York Time and The Washington Post, which have excellent polling and diverse, intellectually honest analysis. Also check your local papers. An informed electorate is a good thing!
Some pubs are asking you to register to be able to read free election coverage, and possibly fill out a reader preference survey like Michigan Live. Seems fair. Check your local paper.
Looking for good polling data and electoral vote info?
– The Upshot on the NY Times
– FiveThirtyEight has the best interactive graphics up and down ticket, including an ever-changing link to the states with the closest races (above).
– On Twitter, follow this number crunching list, including an excellent array of pollsters, political scientists, and political journalists put together by Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo. You can also find links to their websites through the individuals tweeting.
When to expect election results by state, on FiveThirtyEight
To watch and livestream election results, even if you’ve cut the cable cord, IndieWire has a helpful list. Figure on election results on every big network news website as well as their own news apps plus live streaming coverage through social feeds.
I would just suggest that following the polls is exciting and nerve-racking and addicting…but it’s one case where knowing something is no substitute for actually doing something.
One essential reminder: It won’t be “over” November 4. Sorry.
I know we’re all anxious. I know we think of this as being “over” on November 4. It’s not.
We have never had final election results on Election Day, even if elections have been “called.” And this year with voting safety concerns around the pandemic, and a shattering of early voting records, there will be lots of counting. LOTS and lots of counting. Which is totally legal, and always has been.
Many states count ballots postmarked by Election Day, just like the IRS accepts taxes postmarked by tax day. In a Democracy we count every vote and we believe that every vote matters.
To put a fine point on it: No matter what anyone might be saying right now, it has never been illegal to count all the votes; it’s only illegal to not count the votes. Or as Tom Stoppard wisely wrote (though it’s been misattributed to Will Rogers), It’s not the voting that’s democracy; it’s the counting
Make a plan to take care of yourself this week
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This week is going to be hard. Consider doing any or all of these 12 things this week.A post shared by Christine Koh (@hellochristinekoh) on
I love this list from our friend @hellochristinekoh on Instagram about making a care plan for this week. Some of us will really need it.
Comfort foods are your friend. So is leftover Halloween candy.
And hey, if you need a break from real life this week, we’ve got lots of favorite shows to bingewatch that can take your mind off anything. Mental health breaks are good!
Top image: Chicago artist Mac Blackout’s VOTE mural photographed by Jennifer Griffin