SAVE DEMOCRACY: VOTE! Find out How and Make it Count — UPDATED

UPDATED on Sunday 23 August with information from Vote Save America.

The November election is coming up quite soon. It is within 80 days depending on which side of the international dateline you’re on. That means your secretary of state is making her voter registration rolls and is checking them twice trying to find out who to strike! She sees you when you’ve voted. And she knows where your precinct is. She knows whether you’re likely to vote Dem or not, so make sure you’re registered to vote for goodness sake!

See what I did there? Pretty clever, hunh?

You don’t? You don’t see it? Well, you know, it’s like the secretary of state is Santa Claus and he’s making his list and checking it twice like certain Repube SoS are doing with their voter rolls only they don’t care if you were naughty or nice just whether you’re likely to vote Dem or Repube and they’ll strike you if you’re likely to vote Dem… see it now? Right? That was clever. Wasn’t it? Right? Oh, never mind.

Because we’re likely to have a slew of troubles voting and getting our vote counted and because there is a slew of well meaning voter help websites out there, I thought I’d put together this annotated list of places on the web to look for certain voting information so you can make sure you vote and encourage your friends and neighbors to vote.

State-by-State Information on How to Vote

With a plethora of options and new rules and laws and law suits and all kinds of stuff happening around the election, your full-time citizen, even if you are a part-time blogger, has a hard time keeping up with it all. Lucky for you there are several sites that are determined to keep you up to date on the rules, regulations, and laws about the vote in your state:

  • Vote.org has a pretty cool site that lists loads of useful information on how to vote starting with a countdown clock to election day (77 days as of this writing), election reminder notifications so you don’t forget to actually vote, a polling place locator, and the 2020 census. In addition, they have the usual links for registering, checking your registration, and information on vote-by-mail.
  • Vote Save America has another very thorough website listing all kinda ways you can make sure you vote and your vote counts. In addition to the usual register and make sure you stay registered services, they have Adopt-a-State which allows you to donate and otherwise make a difference in a battle ground state. A Know-Your-State feature which allows you to look up information about voting in your state. A Voting FAQ, which answers questions about voting. And graphics that you can download and share on social media and places. FUN!
  • There’s the Stanford-MIT Healthy Elections Project where they’ll give you state election reports and updates, information on how to vote either by mail or in-person, tools for election officials to design mail-in ballots and in-person polling places and ways to report difficulties with the postal service — hunh, not useful for the full-time citizen, but cool to know, right? — the latest on how #COVID19 is affecting the vote, and how to volunteer to be a poll worker.
  • FiveThirtyEight‘s state-by-state guide on How to Vote in the 2020 Election in the age of #COVID19. They’ve got a groovy little clickable graphic thingee that color codes your state by which regulations it has around absentee ballots then it zips you down to the page to the information about your state. Cool.
  • As much as I hate Facebook — And boy do I hate FB nowadays. I really hate ’em! — they have established a cumbersome method that is fraught with vulnerabilities to misinformation to keep users up-to-date on voter information. Why they couldn’t put together a page like everybody else, I don’t know, but it’s Facebook. Here’s the explainer over at Vox‘s Recode. I’ll try to summarize here:
    • They’ll tell you a bunch of stuff somehow, maybe by magic, who knows, if you do shoot us a comment: (a) Whether you’re registered to vote or not. Then, you’ll get a prompt to register. Hasn’t happened to me when I’m on FB. (b) Whether your state supports vote by mail and other information on how to vote. (c) Ask you to sign up as poll workers, especially if you are all young and vital and stuff. (d) And, probably some other big brother has tabs on you stuff but it isn’t listed in the article. I can’t stalk anyone on FB, but FB can stalk me. How is that even fair?
    • Something about a Voter Information Hub on FB and Instagram, but when I search it up on FB I get a bunch of non-FB run pages and links to articles people have posted.
    • They’re using the Bipartisan Policy Center and other places like it to make sure their information is fair and accurate. Hooray? But they aren’t taking misleading and blatant lies about the vote down not from the Ol’ Pussy Grabber’s page or anyone else’s.
    • They’re adding links about the vote under politicians posts, so good? But, they don’t necessarily correct misinformation.
    • State and local election authorities will be able to send out FB alerts to their followers making it easier to keep up with all the changes that are bound to happen as everyone tries to cope with the hurricane of chaos and confusion the Ol’ Pussy Grabber, the Repubes, and the Russians are about to unleash on us to stifle the vote.

Tips for When You Vote

If you aren’t following Jennifer Cohn on Twitter (@jennycohn1 — she follows me, too!) or other social media, you should. She is the expert on voting issues like voting machines and other types of fraud. She is the man! Okay, woman. Okay, it was a cheap joke, bitch about it in the comments, okay? Please? Pretty please?

She wrote this article on Medium that is well worth burning one of your monthly free Medium articles for. She tells you all kinds of useful tips like, REQUEST A HAND-MARKED PAPER BALLOT! Who knew you could do that? But, you should because she has been shouting it from the mountain tops that the voting machines are vulnerable to hacking. And, pro-tip: you’ll need a ballpoint pen. Bring your own just to be sure, and because #COVID19.

To vote in-person bring your ID and completed sample paper ballot just to speed things along. Again, I did not know that. See what I mean? She’s great!

Avoiding the Vote-By-Mail Fiasco

Democracy docket quotes David Wasserman concerning the concerted effort by the Ol’ Pussy Grabber to cause as much delay, confusion, and chaos with the vote-by-mail thing so he can challenge as many likely Dem ballots in court as possible. Old Dave called it “a perfect catastrophe of administrative overload, postal delays and voter error that could lead to millions of absentee ballots not counting.” So, they’ve suggested these four methods to get around vote-by-mail and ensure your vote counts:

  1. Early Voting: The good folks over at the US Vote Foundation have put together this nifty little directory that will allow you to look up the voting requirements for your state, so things like upcoming dates and deadlines, eligibility and ID requirements, voter material transmission options (different ways you can vote or get an early voting ballot), and links to determine whether you’re actually registered or you’ve been struck from the voting rolls for seeming too likely to vote for a Democrat and to find where you absentee ballot is in the process. Pretty nifty, hunh?
  2. Ballot Drop Boxes: Some states provide secure ballot drop boxes so voters can turn their absentee ballots without going to the polls or making a huge trip to some office in some bureaucracy somewhere or relying on the delayed mailing service. Again, you can check with US Vote Foundation‘s nifty state-by-state directory of procedures for the vote.
  3. Dropping Your Ballet at an Election Office or Polling Place: If your state doesn’t provide secure ballot drop boxes, your next best option is to drop your absentee ballot off at the election office or at your actual polling place. It’s a hassle, but it beats wondering if DeJoy’s joyless postal service is going to screw up your vote as well as you Christmas packages — how come no one is talking about how this is going to screw Christmas? Am I the only one? Seriously.
  4. Community ballot collection. One person can take the ballots of many people providing that (a) your state allows it, check this here website to be sure and (b) it is signed and sealed. Really consider this option if you have a relative or friend who is at higher risk for #COVID19 and really shouldn’t be (a) going to the polls and (b) doesn’t want to risk DeJoy and Trump screwing their vote.

Volunteer to be a Poll Worker!

Voting is cool and all, but it ain’t possible if no one works the polls! We have a long tradition of relying on volunteer poll workers. Civically minded retirees — older adults — usually come through and do the dirty deed, but #COVID19 puts those people at elevated risk for DYING, so the move is on to convince youngsters to do it. Unfortunately, young people are not as reliable or consistent — ain’t that right Bernie? Ouch! That Berns, don’t it? ‘Bout the only thing Bernie Princesses are reliable for is harassing people on social media, amirite? — so folks like Obama is leaning on ’em to get ’em to commit. If you want to or have someone that you can do a little friendly or not-so-friendly arm twisting to get to volunteer, Power the Polls, is for you!


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Image Attribution

I’m always nervous about using images from newspapers and stuff. This image was produced by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for their article, Haynes: Wisconsin’s election may have been ‘ridiculous’ but those who braved coronavirus to vote were anything but from way back on 8 April 2020. It was a photo snapped by their intern Patricia McKnight, may she be gainfully employed in her chosen profession. I found it using a Creative Commons Search, but had to resort to using their link to a google image search using their modify or adapt setting.

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