6 Things You Must Do After Voting
Last night my partner and I lay on the living room floor. My hair was piled into a birds nest atop my head—his, a bedraggled quaff. Sheets of paper, pens, pencils, phones, booklets, computers, and our ballots were haphazardly strewn about us, as if a tornado had just swept through the room. We were in the process of filling out our midterm ballots and it wasn’t pretty.
The two of us spent over an hour debating topics, flipping through our blue books, consulting with friends and family, pulling our hair out, and the like. When we filled in the last bubble on our voting “scantrons", we proudly sealed our mail-in envelopes with a hearty swath of spit (gross, I know, but that’s why we should have sticky seals as opposed to lickable) and scribbled our signatures on the backs.
We were exhausted, relieved, and full of pride. We voted. We flexed our amendment rights. And, finally, we were done.
When we dropped off our ballots I began the final six steps of the voting season, all simple efforts to mobilize those close to me.
Despite the title, you can technically complete all these tasks before you fill out your ballot, but I always find it easier to start when I am in the midst of sealing my envelope or dropping off my vote. The choice is yours. Nonetheless, I encourage everyone to follow through with these six steps before or on Election Day:
Check to see if your state has vote-leave laws
Vote-leave laws allow employees to leave work to vote on election days. Most states allow two hours of paid or unpaid leave time. Check out this article to see if your state is one of them. You may be able to carve some time out of work to drop off your ballot or vote at the polls. Better yet, reach out to your loved ones and tell them about voting leave laws in case they’re struggling to find times to cast their vote. There are some stipulations go leave laws so be sure to read up on those here.
Reach out to your immediate family and ask if they have filled out their ballots yet
I did this last night as I was filling out my own ballot; my partner checked with his family, too. Turns out, we were the last ones to vote! Oops.
Text at least five of your friends and remind them to vote.
Ask them to reach out to five of their friends and so on and so forth.
Offer to drop off your friends’ and family’s ballots if they can’t find time to do it themselves
My partner was kind enough to do this for me today. He dropped off our ballots along with some of his family members. The best part of dropping off instead of voting in-person on election day? You still get a sticker. The second best part? You don’t have to wait in line. But mostly, the sticker.
(Note that besides the usual mail-in ballot drop off locations—such as grocery stores, churches, and community centers—most towns and cities have 24 hour drop off locations as well. Google your city’s ballot drop-offs to see where they are located near you)
See if your state allows Election Day voter registration
Know anyone who didn’t register? Or perhaps you forgot? Well good news! You can register to vote on Election Day in the following states: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, Utah, Vermont, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Washington D.C. (I got this information from the National Conference of State Legislatures so you know it’s legit).
Remind your forgetful loved ones or go register yourself!
Share on social media
This is by far the easiest task to implement on this list. We’re on social media all. the. time. You can find a moment to share a selfie of your “I Voted” sticker. Better yet, tell your followers about everything on this list—from 24/7 drop off points to vote-leave laws to text chains—and encourage them to flex their amendment rights!
What about you? Do you have any suggestions for mobilizing your friends/family? Or ideas on what to do after you’ve cast your ballot (like get some ice cream ;) )?
Let me know in the comments below!