How to Make Your Voice heard at the Polls

A Last-Minute Guide for California Voters to Make Election Day Come Alive

A Last-Minute Guide for California Voters to Make Election Day Come Alive


For many voters, Election Day is an unpleasant experience: You wake up to the sound of the rooster crowing, you spend two hours in a line that stretches outside your door when the polls close, and then you have to brave a horde of strangers who, while friendly out to your car, are still ready to stab you. (It’s a wonder they’re not still alive after all the other times they’ve done the same to you.) The process doesn’t have to be so grim, however. Election Day can be a time of fun, and a way to make your voice heard on policy issues that matter to your community. Here are some new ways you can make your voice heard at the polls, whether you’re a registered voter or not.

Ask a friend for help

“When I tried voting at polling booths, I found myself alone,” says David C. Smith, an Atlanta lawyer and author of Voter Registration: A Guide for the Disenfranchised. “My girlfriend came to the table with me, and we did our best to find people to help us. That’s when I started working with a voting-rights group, which then got me to write for The Advocate…”

But you don’t have to wait for an election-day surge to find a volunteer. Ask your friends to vote for you every time they see you at a party or other event. Once you’ve done so for a few elections, they’ll remember that it takes time to work the voting machines. And you can use your friends to find the best places to vote, or even tell your campaign mailing list about how many voters you’ve helped at your event.

Get involved in local campaigns

One of the easiest ways to get involved is to donate a small amount to the campaign of a friend or family member you know who is running for office. The campaigns of both Democrats and Republicans often ask for small contributions for their candidates — something all of your constituents would be supportive of, if they knew you were doing so. Also, if a candidate’s race is close, ask your friend to volunteer to

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