There was a time when not voting or voting third-party was an understandable move. Today, we stand on the precipice of a second term for a man whose fecklessness has ended tens of thousands of lives, shattered norms, and weakened vital institutions. Worse, countless experts believe that anything other than a blowout victory for Biden will result in dramatically more identitarian violence than we’re already experiencing on a daily basis. This is the stuff civil wars are made of.
Not only is it incumbent on all people of good conscience (who are able) to vote, but we must also help our neighbors vote. This is a quick-and-dirty guide to booting this authoritarian out of office.
This guide is co-authored by Brett Chamberlin and me.
How to vote
Check your registration status and your state’s ID requirements to ensure that you’ll be able to cast your ballot
Bring a screenshot of your voter registration confirmation, a recent utility bill, and driver’s license/ID (even if your state does not require ID).
Your pickup point, hours of operation, and more may change due to coronavirus and local regulations, so keep looking it up and sharing as election day approaches.
If you absolutely must vote absentee/mail-in, make sure your vote gets counted:
Request your ballot in time
Fill in your ballot carefully
In the primaries states discarded thousands of ballots due to signature errors, delivery delays, and sealing issues.
Make sure your signature matches your normal signature
Make sure your name on your ballot exactly matches your ID and registration (Cathy vs Catherine)
Make sure you seal and send your ballot correctly
Make damn sure all your (left-leaning!) family, friends, coworkers, etc. have voted. Be insufferable – whatever it takes!
Volunteer your tech skills with https://rideshare2vote.com/
Volunteer as a poll worker. Counties without enough volunteer poll workers may need to reduce their number of polling locations. This tool identifies counties in battleground states that remain at high risk for poll worker shortages, risking voter disenfranchisement.
Get people to the polls. Post on Facebook, Nextdoor etc. to offer rides; check with your neighbors; check in with residential institutions including senior living centers, universities, etc.
Volunteer with a national (Biden) campaign or statewide campaign in your state, who will have GoTV (Get Out The Vote) operations that you can plug in to. Canvas, phone bank, etc.
Donate directly to campaigns for federal, state, and local offices.
Pay off fees and fines for disenfranchised citizens in FL so that they are able to vote: https://wegotthevote.org/finesandfees/
The Brennan Center for Justice fights policies that make it harder to vote and promotes initiatives to protect and modernize elections such as automatic voter registration and election security measures. Learn more about how you can support their mission to ensure every American can vote and have their vote counted.
Research & Monitoring
There is a risk of armed, organized groups (so-called “militias”) at polling locations to “observe for suspicious activities or voters.” Such groups, emboldened by allied police departments and encouraged by Trump himself, could harass, intimidate, or even turn away voters who they deem “suspicious” (read: brown). While unlikely to be a widespread phenomenon, these tactics could be impactful in key swing state districts. Particularly in swing states, monitor your polling location in person or on social media, organizing shifts with friends if necessary. If you observe inappropriate or illegal conduct such as “electioneering” inside a polling location or voter intimidation, report what you see to on-site election workers and monitors, local media, and police.
Research local election officials who may be in a position to influence, contest, or make rulings on ballots or the final vote tally. This election could come down to one district in one state, giving a local, otherwise anonymous official such as a county commissioner outsize impact in the national election. If this person – or the district at large – has a history of voter suppression, partisan favoritism, etc., help these relevant factors come to light.
Monitor social media for civic misinformation (such as incorrect information about polling locations), bots (usually promoting misinfo) etc. Flag and report these accounts and posts.
Join and monitor local Facebook groups for right-wing militias, Qanon communities, Trump supporters, etc. Be on the lookout for suspicious behavior or anything that threatens to disrupt voting. Report the groups and posts to the platform, local media, law enforcement. If you see people making plans for real-world actions, be prepared to mobilize to confront and disrupt.
Make and share memes to spread good information, encourage in-person voting, and provide education around mail-in/absentee ballots.
Preparing for after the election
This guide outlines a few potential scenarios for post-election chaos, as well as “red lines” that we should hold. Familiarize yourself with these potential outcomes, assemble your protest group, and make a plan for nonviolent civil resistance until every vote is counted, any voting irregularities are investigated and remedied, and the vote count is respected.
Resources and References