Whether you’re a US citizen or not, the outcome of tomorrow’s presidential election promises to be significant for all of us.
Beyond just getting out and braving the long lines to vote, there are other things we can all do to encourage Americans’ full participation in the democratic process tomorrow:
1. Plan a last-minute election night party. The plan can be simple, but the party could be profound. Wherever you are in the world, getting together with friends to watch the election night returns and root for your candidate is a fantastic way to keep up the levels of excitement and momentum that have characterized this entire election cycle. You can potluck it, order food in, or throw an all out dinner party, but being with others on election night is important.
2. Plan an after-election party. Maybe you’re sick of the elections or maybe, like me, your stomach is knotted with anxiety, hardly able to wait for the election outcome. If you can’t handle the idea of scrambling together a party by tomorrow night, start planning an after-election party. Whether it’s a consolation and group therapy party or a celebratory affair, processing this historic election will help you move on.
3. Get centered. There’s lots of hype surrounding tomorrow’s election: will it rain? Will there be mass fraud? Will you have to miss work or miss voting because the lines are too long? Tomorrow morning, before you head out to vote, take 5 minutes to get yourself centered. Commit to stay in that voting line as long as it takes. Consider calling in sick for democracy. Whatever your party affiliation, watch the “Yes We Can” video again and ask yourself why this election has engaged you and made you hopeful, why it’s made you feel that your vote really does matter.
4. Be a concerned voter. If you experience any difficulties at your voting site or in the voting booth, or if you witness any questionable activity, report it immediately. Call your local board of elections to report the problem or use your cell phone to participate in the largest voter fraud monitoring process ever.
5. Create a carpool. Maybe your friends intend to vote, but they’re the type of peeople who find a million distractions along the way. Set up a get to the vote party. Offer to carpool to the local voting precinct. If you’re walking or taking public transport, check with your friends and neighbors to see if they’d like to be accompanied to the polling place. There’s strength in numbers!
6. Make some post-election plans. You’ve felt more engaged in the political process than ever. That feeling doesn’t have to end tomorrow night. Start doing some serious thinking about how you can continue to participate in the democratic process beyond election day.
7. Thank people who have made a difference. Maybe you intended to get more involved in the political process but didn’t. Instead of feeling bad, reach out to friends and family who have been canvassing, registering voters, or doing other campaign related volunteer work to thank them for their efforts.
8. Exercise your influence. If you can’t vote, if you already have, if you’re not a US citizen, or if you live abroad, reach out to voting-eligible friends and family and remind them to vote. Share a personal reason why you believe voting is so important. Even if you can’t vote, like my friend, Emon, tell people why you think they should.
9. Stay tuned to Pulse tomorrow night. I’ll be blogging about the election returns live from the headquarters of National Public Radio.
Photo: lakelandlocal (Flickr creative commons)