Monday, November 3, 2008

Traveling to the polls: Tips for the long wait

I made my way to the polls this weekend to early vote in Virginia. I figured I’d have a long wait, 4 hours to be exact, so I prepared myself with a fully charged Ipod, comfortable shoes, magazine and a great attitude. 4 hours IS a long time to wait in line but honestly, I’d have waited longer -very few moments like this arise to change the course of history.

If you haven’t already voted, I urge you to take time on Tuesday, Nov. 4 to do so. Prepare for a wait – this election has drawn crowds like none other and tomorrow is sure to bring record turnouts! I got a list of tips this morning from on making your day at the polls a party. I love the idea of turning your poll line wait into a party, so thought I’d share:

How to Start a Party at the Polls
You can do this while you're waiting in line yourself, you can come back after you've voted, or you can go to other polling places in your area where you hear there are long lines. Here are some ways you can make the wait easier and more fun for voters:

Bring water, food, snacks. A lot of people might not have realized how long they'd have to wait. A little food and water can help give people the energy they need to power through. Cook something the night before, buy some bottled water to share. Healthy snacks are good, but you can also use the opportunity to get rid of extra Halloween candy.

Bring some folding chairs. Some people may need a break from standing; you can give them somewhere to sit.

Rain? Bring umbrellas, ponchos, plastic bags. Help people stay dry.

Tell jokes, juggle, provide some other kind of entertainment. Are you a comedian, dancer, or street performer of some kind? Put on a show! Make sure it's family-friendly.

Play some music or bring a boombox. Play an instrument? Bring it to the polls and play some songs. Bring a boombox. Take requests. Avoid music that might be offensive or abrasive to some people. Keep in mind that not everyone may like your music, so pay attention to how people are reacting; you don't want to drive anyone away.
La Diva's note: Just bring your headphones ;)

Be prepared to cover up campaign t-shirts, buttons, etc. Some places have rules against campaigning within 100 feet of the polls. Wearing a t-shirt or button can be considered a form of campaigning, so if you're wearing gear from a particular candidate, be prepared to cover it up or change into different clothes if someone asks you to.

Above all, have fun, and spread it around. Help everyone out, not just people supporting your candidate. This is about making sure everyone has the right to vote. Voters disagree on many issues, but we should all be able to agree that participation in our democracy is an exciting thing. Help bring a festive spirit to the polling place.

You can find more tips on Color of Change’s website.

Don’t take anything for granted – head to the polls, vote for your favorite candidate and make a difference!

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