So, you’ve cast your ballot. Maybe you’ve already logged some hours phone banking, you’ve made donations to candidates and advocacy organizations, and you’ve checked on the people in your life to make sure they participate in the election.
Still feeling antsy, nervous, powerless? If you’re like me, you’re thinking about all the people in states where politicians have made it harder, not easier, to vote amid this pandemic. The people in places where few polling locations, and the long lines that result — frequently in minority and lower income communities — work as a hurdle for people to cast their ballots. Many view long lines as a form of voter suppression.
If you’re hoping, praying, those people stay in line, there’s more you can do than just send your best wishes.
Multiple organizations, campaigns, and grassroots do-gooders have sprung up to keep voters full, comfortable, entertained, and protected. If you don’t live in a swing state, you may not be able to go cheer on the voters in person. But you can support the organizations who will.
Here are some ways to help from afar.
This organization will deliver pizza and other kinds of food to people standing in line to vote in 42 states across the country.
Anyone can report a long line, and Pizza to the Polls will roll up in a food truck, staffed with workers equipped with personal protective and sanitization equipment, to pass out sustenance to voters. You can donate here to help make those pies possible. Oh, and they also occasionally post fun activities on their social accounts — like the word search below — to keep people entertained. Pretty neat!
Feed the Polls is a joint initiative led by a nonprofit organization fighting food insecurity called The Migrant Kitchen, in partnership with The Infatuation and Zagat. Its goal is to deliver 50,000 healthy meals to polling locations impacted by voter suppression and intimidation on election day.
They’re partnering with food trucks owned by women, minorities, and veterans from local communities to provide the food. Migrant Kitchen estimates that each meal will cost up to $10 to produce and distribute: you can donate here to help them reach their goal.
Feeding the stomach is one thing; feeding the soul and the brain are another. Joy to the Polls is helping to keep voters in line entertained and, well, joyful. Multiple musicians like Maggie Rogers and My Morning Jacket have created custom playlists for some pump-up music for people waiting in line. The organization is also delivering live music and dancing — Patti Smith showed up to serenade voters in New York City, and a group dance to “Cha-Cha-Slide” in Philadelphia started by the organization went viral.
Joy to the Polls is sponsored by a voter advocacy organization called The Frontline Election Defenders. You can donate to spread the joy here.
If you’re terrified by reports you might have seen about election intimidation tactics, there is a way to help protect voters. The organization Election Protection has a hotline that people can call if they experience voter intimidation: 866-OUR-VOTE.
This org is administered by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. You can donate here.
Do you know of another way to help voters weather the long lines? Planning to stage a live music or comedy show? Handing out free lawn chairs, face masks, umbrellas, or food? Get in touch — email [email protected] for inclusion in this list.