Here’s some hopeful news: Voters are turning out in droves across the country in advance of next Tuesday’s election. According to the United States Elections Project, as of Oct. 28, more than 74,000,000 Americans have voted: that’s more than half of the total votes counted in the 2016 election. Cities like Chicago are breaking their early voting records. New York City’s overwhelmed poll centers added additional hours for the weekend before Election Day. Youth voter turnout is up overall, and Texas is leading with the biggest youth vote participation in the country.
But while this enthusiasm for voting has led to long poll lines, communities and organizations throughout the U.S. are working to make the voting experience as positive as possible. Here are 10 ways to spread a little joy on Election Day.
1. Do a little line dancing. You might’ve seen this video, of some enthusiastic Cha-Cha-Sliders, from an early voting line in Philadelphia. That fun is part of a campaign called Joy to the Polls. It’s a nonpartisan effort to ensure voters are "staying safe and healthy outside of polling places across the country and bringing them some joy," Nelini Stamp, director of strategy for the Working Families Party and the campaign director for Election Defenders, told BuzzFeed News. Those behind the campaign hope the dancing will provide de-escalation opportunities at the polls.
2. Sing some hymns (from a safe distance). Alabama couple Lonnie and Clara Neely, 102 and 101 years old, respectively, sang church spirituals while waiting to vote absentee for the first time, in Tuscaloosa County. The couple has voted in-person in every other election since they were 18.
3. Join a socially distanced party. Communities across the country are hosting local block parties and get-out-the-vote events; you can use Michelle Obama’s organization When We All Vote’s website to search for block parties near you. Be sure to come wearing a mask and follow social distancing best practices.
4. Get your hair done. At Philadelphia’s Tilden Middle School this past Saturday, in addition to a performance from the Resistance Revival Chorus, some of those waiting in line even got haircuts.
5. Take a selfie. On the note of looking your best, the West Palm Beach, Fla., chapter of a civic organization of Black women — The Links, Incorporated — started the hashtag #GlamTheVote to encourage voters to take Election Day to have fun getting dressed up, then posting a photo using the hashtag from the polls.
6. See some art. Over in St. Petersburg, Fla., the local affiliate of the League of Women Voters (LWV) commissioned an interactive mural: Using the mural, voters can “use the free Pixelstix phone app to access voting resources, mail-in ballot forms and more.”
7. Send a pizza. If you’re in a long line waiting to vote, keep an eye out for free food: Organizations and conscientious neighbors across the country are making plans to provide snacks for voters. You can contact Pizza to the Polls, which has worked to deliver pizza to long polling lines since 2016. In 2020, they’ve already delivered 3,700 pizzas. Another organization, Feed the Polls, is focused on providing meals at polling places on Election Day in low-income, food-insecure areas.
8. Hail to the chef. Or, if you’re in one of these 23 cities, you might be fed by Chefs for the Polls, coordinated by celebrity Chef Jose Andrés’ World Central Kitchen. “Meals are not offered as an incentive or reward for voting; rather, meals will be available at polling sites for anyone who is hungry,” reads their website.
9. Eat a cookie. If you’re in the Houston area, stop by Three Brothers Bakery: they’re running an election-by-cookie across their three locations, for the 16th year in a row. The bakery has accurately predicted the outcome in the last four elections. Three Brothers Bakery also sells cookies online if you want to cookie-vote by mail. And if you’re in New England, Massachusetts bakery Ginger Betty’s is hosting a ginger cookie election of their own.
10. And don’t forget tacos. And in Los Angeles, a movement aimed at fostering community between local Latino and Muslim residents has stationed a taco truck outside of a local mosque, with free halal tacos for those who register to vote.
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