It’s hard to believe in the middle of COVID-19, but we’re less than 100 days out from Election Day, the first Tuesday in November: in this case, November 3, 2020. Trump’s saying he wants to cancel it, claiming that mass mail-in voting would lead to “an INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT election.” Newsflash: he can’t do that, reminds The New York Times. Only Congress can, and he has no power over both the House of Representatives and the Senate.
So we’re having elections in the middle of a mass pandemic. They’re happening. And it’s time to get serious. It’s time to get out the vote. We’ve got less than 100 days, and if we want that man out of office, if we want to take back the House and the Senate, if we want to effect change on a local level, we’ve got to start for real. And we’ve got to do it now.
Make Sure You’re Registered to Vote
With less than 100 days to go, you’ve got to register to vote, pronto. Start here to figure out how to register. You’ll select your state from a pull-down menu, and it’ll take you to a website for your state’s election commission, which will have detailed information about how to register. Do this now.
Scared of COVID-19? Know Your Mail-In Vote Deadline
You have even less time in this 100 days if you don’t want to wait in line to vote. No one wants to stand in a queue of possible coughing, virus-ridden people. Each state has a different rule about when absentee ballots must be postmarked. Find out your deadline here; the link to your state’s election website on the same page will also tell you how to obtain an absentee ballot. Some states allow you to request one by email; other require a phone call or a visit to the county office.
But We Need To Worry About More Than Our Own Votes in This 100 Days
With so little time to go, we can’t rest. It’s time to fight, people. Registering to vote and getting your own absentee ballot isn’t enough.
You’ve got to start by haranguing everyone you know. Make a Facebook post about it. Something like “Did you know we only have x number of days until the election? Register to vote!” “Did you know your absentee ballot must be postmarked x number of days before the election in our state?” Put it on your Facebook feed. Make it part of your Insta story. Tweet it. Get the word out via social media.
More About Using Social Media
Speaking of social media, we need to make the most of it during the next 100 days, especially since no one wants to go out publicly because of the pandemic. A study of 61 million Facebook users published in 2012 found that political mobilization messages in advance of an election “directly influenced political self-expression, information seeking and real-world voting behaviour of millions of people.” Even better, according to the study, “[T]he messages not only influenced the users who received them but also the users’ friends, and friends of friends.” And that was only Facebook.
The American Association of University Women (AAUW) has some specific advice about using social media to get out the vote. First, make sure you use the right hashtags. They recommend #Election2020, #ItsMyVote, and #GOTV. But according to Best Hashtags, here are some of the best ones to use to tag your voting posts:
#voting #vote #election #elections #politics #democracy #votingrights #votingmatters #covid #news #ivoted #electionday #registertovote #govote #civilrights #votersuppression #coronavirus #music #votebymail #votingpolls #government #debate #votingday #fashion #voter #youth #discussion #voterregistration #bhfyp
Make sure you also use good, eye-catching pictures, the AAUW recommends. There are plenty available on free photo sites like Dreamstime, Shutterstock, and Pixabay. Obviously you probably aren’t going to go out and take pics of a voter registration drive, so you can find good pictures on places like this. You can punch them up with words or photos from free sites such as Canva or PicMonkey.
And don’t forget places like TikTok.
Join ‘Text Out The Vote’ — Or Do Virtual Phone Banks
If you want to help immediately from home, the Democratic Party needs help now. Join Text Out the Vote, an organization that contacts you when the Democratic Party has a texting campaign. Then, from the safety of your own home, you can text other people to help get out important voting and campaign information. Super simple— and super effective.
They also have virtual phone banks you can sign up to help with. There’s one happening soon, and they’ll certainly be more as we count down through this 100 days.
Make Contact With Local Candidates
Before, local candidates used to win on the strength of canvassing, or face-to-face knocking on doors, and speeches. That can’t happen this year. It’s incumbent on you to reach out to them in the next 100 days to ask how you can help them to win. That may be through virtual phone banking. It may be through putting up signs. It may be through helping fold and stamp mailings. You might find yourself wearing a mask at a campaign headquarters. But however you do it: you’ve got to reach out.
Make sure that social media outreach is hitting local people, too. Post in your neighborhood groups. Reach out to local friends. Know the twitter handles of local candidates. And don’t forget the old-fashioned letter to the editor.
We’ve got less than 100 days left, folks. The time is now.