We are closer than you might think to the general election…..and with all the pandemic/protests the media has pretty much ignored the election….so IST has decided to help out when we can…..
This Voters’ Calendar will stretch our civic attention span to make high-turnout elections a task that mere mortals can perform, not a superhuman feat that tests the endurance of even the most dedicated voters.
AUGUST is Check Your Registration month. Starting August 5 (90 days from November 3rd), it is federally illegal to make any new purges from the voter rolls. You can add registrations – you just can’t eliminate them. Therefore, starting August 5, check your registration on your Secretary of State or county election websites. (Many URLS can get you there: Vote411.org is a good place to start. Another is the U.S. Vote Foundation, which has contact information for every local election official. Engage directly with those who will be counting your vote.)
When you find your name and address are correct take a screenshot and file it with time and date. (Google “How do I take a screenshot with my phone?”) Update any incorrect information. Only take the screenshot when it’s in order. If you don’t find yourself, re-register. Do this for voters who don’t have online access—starting with your family.
SEPTEMBER is Order Your Mail Ballot month. Maybe you think you won’t need a mail-in ballot. But what if you do? A delayed application could get caught in a paperwork tsunami (one lesson from recent primaries.) If you don’t get a mail ballot you’ve requested, complications will ensue. Order that mail-in ballot as soon as your registration is correct.
Follow the directions carefully. Some states let you apply entirely online. Others require that you print out the application, fill it in, sign it, and mail it. Unfortunately, every state has slightly different rules. Don’t procrastinate. You want to be early or near the front of this line.
OCTOBER is Vote Your Mail Ballot Month—or If You Want to Vote In Person, Keep it to Take With You Just in Case. Mail-in ballots get issued in October. Know when to expect yours. (See your state or county website.) If you don’t get your ballot, phone the elections office. Sometimes they can cancel the first one issued and send you another. Act early.
When you do receive your mail ballot, either vote it ASAP or keep it, envelopes and all, in a safe place. Check local rules about where you can drop a voted mail ballot off in person. And check if your jurisdiction allows “surrender” of an unvoted mail ballot in person in exchange for a regular ballot. The vulnerability of the Postal Service, in hostile conditions, and with the coronavirus, worries us all. Help them by being early.
The safest in-person option for a mail-in ballot voter is Early Voting if your jurisdiction offers it. If you’re opting to vote in person but have your mail ballot take it with you in its envelope. If there’s a line, you could use the mail ballot to vote and sign its envelope, then drop it with the poll workers. You won’t have to wait to sign in. But check your local rules before you depend on this. On Election Day itself, many places won’t let you do this—why? Because election offices work hard to get their mail ballot envelope processing out of the way before Election Night ballots pour in. If you have your mail ballot and go to vote in-person on Election Day, by all means take it, and the envelope, with you anyway in case it is a way to avoid provisional. Again – check your local rules!
NOVEMBER is Last Chance Month: The Endgame. If you vote on Election Day, you know to expect a line. Especially in a blue epicenter in a red state. If you didn’t get a mail ballot that you had requested, check your local rules to know what to expect in person. Maybe you can cancel your ballot to avoid provisional, maybe not. But VOTE. Persevere. Activists will observe the count, especially if the provisional numbers are high in vulnerable communities. Know the rules that protect you from the traps. Teach others.
This is voter PPE – personal protective education – in the time of pandemic. Voting Season is not just about November 3rd anymore, not for vote-counting (it might take weeks) and not for vote-casting. Protection of your voting rights starts three months out.
Use the calendar and foil the treasonous vote suppressors.
I Read, I Write, You Know
“lego ergo scribo”