The numerous issues we have seen in this election mirrors a troubled past in executing the promise of a democractic election process in this country.
From poll workers turning people away, to delays in mail-in ballots being delivered and counted, to last-minute court proceedings to determine the validity of votes already cast, voters across the nation have reason to be wary.
To ensure your right to vote is protected, here are a few things you can do this Election Day:
- For over-the-phone support and legal assistance, contact the Election Protection Coalition at 866-687-8683. There are a reported 34,000 volunteers working the hotline awaiting to assist voters.
- Plan ahead. Voters should expect to experience long wait times at polling sites. Voting rights organization When We All Vote advised voters to bring a snack, get a good playlist and even bring a foldable chair.
If the line is super long, you can make a report to polls.pizza/report and get a free pizza delivered to you.
Also, try to have a back up plan for reliable child care in case voting takes longer than expected. If you need to take off of work, communicate with coworkers and supervisors to exercise your right.
- If you arrive at a polling location and the precinct is not open, double check that the location hasn’t moved. Try to find the most updated contact information including phone number and address. If you arrive before they open, do what you can to get on and stay on the line.
As voting comes to a close later this evening, be mindful of securing your place in line. During the primaries, local officials across the nation petitioned for polls to stay open longer to accommodate mishaps in voting technology. You might be able to keep your place in line and still vote.
It may also be a good idea to have local and state news available (either on your phone or someone who’s watching the news for you) to remain updated about last-minute election process decisions.
- If you show up to a polling site and they say you are not on the registration list, but you are a registered voter, use the Election Protection hotline. Lawyers on the hotline will help you figure out next steps. If that doesn’t work, request a provisional ballot. This will hold your vote until they can certify your registration status at a later time.
Remaining informed about your local and state election decisions is key to following or making adjustments to your plan to vote on Election Day.
As always, continue to follow CDC guidelines to protect yourself and others from the coronavirus. Wearing a mask, using hand sanitizer, and maintaining six feet are all helpful precautions you can take in the polling lines.
Photo: Getty Images