The pandemic (which, to date, has killed 210,000 Americans), climate change, and the imminent confirmation to the Supreme Court of Amy Coney Barrett, and nearly every single minute of the first presidential debate have upped the stakes on the upcoming election. And while recent news has left me feeling scared, it has also motivated me to do something about it—especially because the race is still close in key swing states, like Ohio, Florida, and Iowa. If you, too, are fired up and want to help inspire real change between now and election day, here's what you can do to make a difference.
Here's what to do before the election to make sure your voice is heard
If you've got even $10 to spare, consider putting it toward your chosen candidate's campaign. An analysis from early in the election found that more than half the money that was raised by Democratic Presidential candidates (a whopping $14 million) came from donors who chipped in $200 or less. In other words? Every dollar makes a difference. (Psst, Biden supporter can donate right here.)
2. Join a phone bank
While the thought of cold calling a stranger and convincing them to vote might sound intimidating, it's not as scary as it sounds. Every Tuesday night, my best friend and I get together, order takeout, and make calls in swing states. The Biden campaign is hosting phone banks every day (you can find the schedule here). You're provided with an easy-to-follow script that tells you exactly what to say. You might come across someone who doesn't agree with you or get hung up on, sure, but you also might convince an undecided voter, or someone who hadn't planned to vote at all, to get out to the polls.
3. Fire off some texts
If picking up the phone isn't quite your thing, join a texting team. Whichever program you join will give you a full training before you start sending texts, and you'll be able to use their scripts to message constituents to encourage them to vote. It takes only a few minutes every day, and can help you reach voters across the country.
4. Write postcards
Support your candidate and the USPS in one fell swoop by sending postcards. Sign up via Postcards to Voters, who will approve you as a writer and provide you with addresses where you can send your notes. Better yet? Get your friends to sign up, too, then host a postcard writing party via Zoom.
5. Sign up to be a poll worker
"Election workers are essential to ensuring that elections are a success," says U.S. Board of Elections, so why not do your part? If you're (safely) able, contact your local elections office to sign up to be a poll worker on election day. Here's how to sign up.
6. Reach out to people in your community
Whether you have 5 followers or 50,000, your voice matters—and now's your time to use it. Post to your social media accounts encouraging people to vote, or better yet, to sign up with you for one of the initiatives above. Beyond that, be sure to get directly in touch with your nearest and dearest to make sure they've got a plan to vote, since every single one counts.
7. Buy some merch for a cause
Wearing a T-shirt isn't enough, but the best part about making a purchase is that the proceeds from these five items go to support causes that are helping to get out the vote:
Studs Vote Stud, $35
Wear your voter pride on your ear with this teeny, tiny stud (which initially sold out in 24 hours). Twenty percent of proceeds from your purchase will go to When We All Vote to support their mission to increase participation in every election.
Shop now: Studs Vote Stud, $35
Profits from the purchase of this uber-cool T-shirt will benefit I Am a Voter, a nonpartisan initiative that aims to increase voter participation nationwide.
Shop now: Tory Burch Vote T-shirt, $68
Since you're going to be wearing a mask anyway, you may as well use it to send a message. Quay designed this mask in partnership with Lizzo, and 100 percent of the proceeds will be donated either to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund or the Election Protection Project.
Shop now: Quay x Lizzo Vote Mask, $10
Decorate your phone with this daily reminder for yourself—and others—to get out the vote. Fifty percent of the proceeds from your purchase will go to Rock the Vote.
Shop now: Popsockets Vote Peace, $15
Kinn Vote Necklace, $360
Need a (very good) reason to treat yourself to some new jewelry? With every purchase of this dainty "VOTE" necklace, Kinn is donating 100 percent of proceeds to the Black Voters Matter Fund.
Shop now: Kinn Vote Necklace, $360
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