Tomorrow — Tuesday, November 3 — is your last day to vote if you haven’t already voted early, or by mail-in or absentee ballot. If you’ve already voted, make sure you speak to/call/email/text three other people to make sure they have voted too. If you haven’t voted yet, make sure you know where to go and check the hours of the polling site before you go. As I keep telling people, it doesn’t matter if you’ve voted 50 years at the same site. The polling location might be different this time. So save yourself the hassle and confirm in advance via Vote411.org.
If you have a mail-in ballot that you haven’t mailed in … it’s wayyyyy too late to do that. But you can drop it off. The drop-off point varies depending by locality. It might be at a polling site or it might be at a county election office. Again, look that up before you head out so that you don’t wind up wasting time.
Speaking of time, there could be a long wait at poll sites. Sometimes people get in and out in 10 minutes, sometimes it takes four hours. It depends on how much the Republican party has done to suppress the vote in your area. There are many largely Democratic districts where the GOP has shut down poll sites and limited ballot boxes in order to make voting inconvenient. Just in case, be prepared for a wait with comfortable and weather-appropriate clothes, snacks, and water. Whatever time your poll site closes — 7 p.m., 8 p.m., 9 p.m., or other — as long as you are IN LINE by the cut-off time (not a minute after!), the poll site is obligated to stay open until you vote. Do not leave the line no matter what. Do not believe any poll site workers, cops, or other voters who say you are too late. If you are being told you can’t vote even though you are a registered voter, call the voter hotline at 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683) to get help.
Familiarize yourself with what’s on your ballot before you go to the polls. You’re not just voting for president. You probably have local officials — from state senators to judges to sheriffs — on your ballot. You might have tax proposals or other referendums up for vote. These “smaller” ballot items have the greatest impact on your daily life. If the street outside your house has potholes or your kids’ school sucks, that’s a local issue. Also, most people who become influential in politics don’t go from blowhard game-show-host rapist to president with the help of Russia, the way Trump did. Most people start out small. So if you want to see a change in power at the national level, give a boost to some of these people starting out, while they’re most interested in what you have to say.
Fuck those people who say about politics, “They’re all alike” (literally can’t be true of first-time office holders) or that “things never change” or “we don’t win.” We flipped the House from Republican to Democratic in 2018. On a local level in New York, activists helped flip the state senate to Democratic, which enabled us to pass voting reforms including early voting. Including tomorrow, New York had 10 days to vote in the 2020 election — the first time in history we had more than 15 hours to vote in such an elections. Seriously, until last year, New Yorkers could only vote between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. on Election Day itself and absentee ballots were impossible to get. Fifteen hours. No wonder we had bottom-of-the-barrel turnout. But this year, over a million people voted early, despite there being very few poll sites. Those million people were able to do that only BECAUSE of the previous state senate vote — a concrete example of the way voting changes things.
If you’d like to hear me make the case for voting for close to 13 minutes — I’m not sure why you would, but maybe you’re kinky that way — check out my YouTube video from 2018.
Let’s do this thing! It’s time to TRY to live up to the ideals about America that we were taught in school. Vote for health care, for education, for clean air, for clean water, for women’s rights, for LGBTQ rights! There are only 2,825 billionaires in the world. We could fit those folks in the Beacon Theatre in New York City and still have a few empty seats. They’re the ones going to be paying more in taxes, and they’ll STILL be able to afford their half-billion-dollar million yachts while you go bankrupt during cancer treatment. Don’t vote like you’re them; vote like you’re you!