Eligible American voters, this one’s for you.
I’m sure I don’t need to tell why it’s so crucial that we all vote this election — but just in case: This election is the last major off-ramp we have before the United States becomes an authoritarian regime. Right now, we still have power to stop it.
It’s absurdly stressful to even think about, which is why I want to help make sure you’re organized and ready.
Checklist, resources, and pep talk below!!
I’ve broken it down into three easily digestible sections:
First: Making sure you’re (still, correctly) registered to vote and requesting a paper ballot where possible.
Second: Preparing to vote, voting securely, tracking your ballot.
Third: What can you do to help? Science says this is the most impactful thing
If you’ve skimmed this list and thought, “Ok, but I’m not excited to vote for Biden, so I don’t know if I’m going to bother”… please read to the end.
Here’s a great page with the deadlines, absentee ballot request, ballot drop box and and overview info for every state.
First: Making sure you’re (still) registered to vote.
Already registered? Be sure you’re up-to-date (not purged!!) and all correct. Check your registration. http://www.vote411.org/check-registration
Not registered yet? Paperwork is a bitch, I know. But the deadline to register is coming up — in many states, today, October 5. You still have time! Registration takes an average of 3 minutes. http://www.vote411.org/register
Overwhelmed? TurboVote is a simpler interface that takes it step by step. https://turbovote.org/
Second: Preparing to vote, and voting securely.
If you can vote in person — especially early — this is a great option to ensure everything goes through with no hiccups. Check if your area has early voting. https://www.vote.org/early-voting-calendar/
If you want to vote by completing your ballot at home, great! The ideal way to do that is to skip the post office and drop your ballot directly in a ballot dropbox.
Learn how dropboxes work. (Note: some states don’t allow someone else to drop your ballot off; this is important!)
Find out if your area has dropboxes, and where: search for your state and county! Again, note that different jurisdictions have different rules.
If you’re mailing the traditional way, ensure you have carefully followed the instructions regarding signing, sealing, privacy envelopes, deadlines and so on.
Google your state rules for mail-in ballots or use DemocracyWorks’ comprehensive state pages for info. https://howto.vote/
Also doesn’t hurt to search twitter for any ballot warnings (like about the right number of stamps) because there is no single page for this info.
Here are guides to voting in every state. http://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/how-to-vote-2020/
Hesitating because you’re not sure what to fill out for the local stuff? It’s easy to miss in a year like this.
Check out what’s on your ballot. http://www.vote411.org/
Many local organizations put out voting guides, too!
Third: The most impactful things you can do.
While it’s fantastic and rewarding to phone or text bank for candidates — not all of us are physically or emotionally equipped to call or text strangers for hours at a time. (cough me cough)
But can you text your friends?
A recent study has shown that texting your friends & family — aka, people you already enjoy talking to — is the most impactful thing you can possibly do. No brainer, when you think about it: trust and respect and love is powerful.
Even so, it can be daunting.
That’s why the new crop of apps are such perfect tools: they give you the power and support of a professional text banking tool, but with the comfort of texting folks you already know.
The best two options are:
If you are a friend of mine, well… prepare to hear from me soon. Sorry not sorry.
Why I’m excited to vote for Joe
Aka let’s give up on self-indulgent fatalism
Joe Biden was not my first or even second choice — and that doesn’t matter, because a Biden administration won’t try to mass murder minorities and shut down elections in the future, and that alone secures my vote.
But, contrary to irony-poisoned Twitter talking heads or perhaps your own self-destructive inner voice, Biden is not “the lesser evil.”
Biden’s people — remember, you’re not electing just the man, but his entire team — have put forth a tremendous amount of really good policies. They’re bringing the right people on board. They’re consulting with real, experienced experts in policy, like my friend Matthew Cortland. They’re not allowing lobbyists through the door.
Biden-Harris are listening, and they’re changing in response to what they hear.
REMEMBER: Picking a president isn’t like picking a friend. You are choosing your adversary. All politicians must be held accountable by the people… but only some of them show willing to listen.
That said, we’re actually starting from a pretty good place…
Here are just a few of the Biden-Harris policies I’m excited for:
- restore and expanding the ACA and creating a public option (crucial for everyone, and especially small business owners like us)
- ending enforced poverty and ensuring marriage equality for disabled folks
- free college for households under $125k/yr
Plus, you know, a couple little things like ending the horror of family separation and indefinite detention of innocent migrants and their children, actually fighting the pandemic, providing aid to those devastated by Trump’s mismanagement of the pandemic, working to repair the egregious harm decades of anti-Black policies have created, sweeping white supremacists out of our institutions, mandating a turn to clean energy, and addressing the student debt and housing crises. You know. As a treat.
If I sound sarcastic, it’s not because I think these things are minor, but because I’m frustrated to no end with folks who act like getting these things is the same as not getting these things.
Seriously, check out the Biden-Harris plans. There are a lot; each page is tons and tons of stuff I couldn’t possibly list here. Their platform is more progressive and far-reaching than Obama’s. That’s a foundation we can build on.
Plus, again, you know Biden won’t try to install himself as an autocrat or bribe and corrupt every single government office he can reach… and that is genuinely thrilling in 2020.
If you’re still feeling bitter, believe me, I understand. But think of it this way: It’s well worth your time to vote for local candidates to make change in your area, your state, your state’s representation in Congress. It costs nothing and hurts no one to vote for Biden, but it could help a lot of folks less fortunate than you, whose very lives hinge on this election.
Voting for them, if not for yourself, is an act of love.
Did you know that I’m one of those people? If the ACA is destroyed — if Trump succeeds — then in a few years, when I hit the lifetime caps on insurance that the ACA had outlawed, I’m fucked. If I’m lucky, I’ll spend the rest of my life shivering in bed, unable to stand long enough to do simple things like wash my hair and do the dishes. If I’m less lucky, I’ll die of an infection that my current (very expensive) treatment would have protected me from.
So, if you still don’t want to vote for yourself, please vote for me.