We’re coming down to the wire on the 2020 elections. But “it ain’t over ’til it’s over” and all of us can still make a difference, whether your state is “died in the wool” red or blue, or whether everything is up for grabs. Every single vote counts, and that’s as true for state and local races as it is at the presidential level.
So, with just days to go until the 2020 election, and some campaign activities hampered by precautions to avoid getting or spreading the Covid-19, here are ten of the best ways to make a difference right now.
1. Vote As Early As Possible. Many states are encouraging their citizens to vote early. In some states, that means in person at polls that have already opened. Other states are mailing ballots to voters and asking them to mail them in or drop them in a secure and official drop box. Here’s what you can do in your state. Does this work? Around the middle of September, I requested a ballot so I could vote early in Maryland. I received the ballot at the end of September, voted, signed and sealed it, and dropped it in a secure ballot box on October 8. On October 14, I received an email from my county elections board saying that my ballot had already been counted!
2. Take Nothing for Granted. You might hear that your favorite candidate is going to “win by a landslide.” You might hear that there’s no way they can win at all. Don’t let either statement affect your vote. Upsets happen all the time – and often because people just don’t think their vote is important. It is. No matter what you hope will happen on Election Day, you must still vote.
3. Sign and Seal Your Ballot According to Your State’s Rules. Some states require you to put your ballot in two envelopes. Some only one. Some envelopes require postage. Others are postage-paid. Make sure you follow the rules exactly in your state if you mail or drop off your ballot to ensure that it is counted.
4. Use Your Social Media to Encourage Others to Vote. Pre-pandemic, many of us would have been out knocking on doors or trying to meet voters in person. That’s not happening much this year because people need to stay socially distant and wear masks to stay healthy. Use Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram instead of in-person contact. Social media can be especially important in letting people know when and how they can vote.
5. Use Your Social Media to Fact Check, Too. “Fake news” runs the gamut on social media, from spreading false information about voting rules and deadlines to slandering candidates personally and professionally. Don’t spread “news” that’s not legit. If something seems sensational or unbelievable, it probably is. Go to Snopes.com to check the veracity of “facts” before you share them.
6. Text to Undecided or Inactive Voters. Many campaigns need help texting to undecided and inactive voters to encourage them to vote. The campaigns will provide numbers and scripts; all you have to do is activate your fingers.
7. Phone Bank From Your Own Home. If you prefer to talk with voters personally, you can use a similar system as the texting platform to log into a computerized data bank and contact voters in need of some encouragement. VoteSaveAmerica.com and Environmental Voter Project are two organizations helping concerned citizens reach out to others.
8. Host a Candidate Forum on Zoom. Don’t ignore your local elections! Is there a hot race for mayor or Representative? Do you have an interesting referendum on your ballot? Host a forum via Zoom or another sharing platform. You can invite lots of people to attend, and everyone will be safe in their own home.
9. Think Twice About Third Party or “Protest” Voting. Third parties have a lot to offer, especially when it comes to reforming how elections are run state-by-state or even county-by-county. Every vote counts and it’s important to remember that a vote for a third party candidate could end up being a vote for the candidate you most oppose.
10. Donate. Campaigns need money – for social media outreach, phone banking and texting, TV and radio ads, and more. They’ll be grateful for whatever contribution you can make at this point. Go to the website of the candidate (or issue campaign) you want to support; a fundraising link will pop up. Make sure to adhere to federal and state regulations that limit how much money you can give to a candidate in the general election.
And…don’t miss: Everything You Need to Know About Voting in the Age of COVID