MetaGetOutTheVote October 15, 2018 7:38 AM   Subscribe

I thought that it might be good to have a place for people to share links/contact information/registration/locations etc. related to voting. The 2018 U.S. Midterm elections are just around the corner (Tuesday November 6, 2018). This isn't the place to talk about #potus45, we have our mega-threads for that. But this is a good reminder to remember to vote, to make sure you're registered, and to get out there and let your voice be heard.
posted by Fizz to MetaFilter-Related at 7:38 AM (27 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite is a good place to start, you can check to see if you're registered and also where the closest voting booth/station is. It was set up by CrookedMedia, the people behind Pod Saves America.

I'm not a U.S. citizen, so I won't/can't vote but I am watching this election closely because what happens there spills over into other parts of the world and I think it's important. Good luck friends.
posted by Fizz at 7:44 AM on October 15, 2018 [4 favorites]

So if you're in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, I cannot recommend Naomi Kritzer's blog enough. She does great rundowns for a lot of of the local elections - the sort of stuff where it can be hard to find information from anyone besides the candidates themselves.
posted by dinty_moore at 7:45 AM on October 15, 2018

If you're in Virginia, TODAY is the deadline to register. Tell your friends and make them tell their friends.

Also if you're in CD7 (Dave Brat ugh) there is a debate in Culpeper tonight with Democratic opponent Abigail Spanberger! I will be there, it's sold out but I believe it will be televised. On mobile so will have to come back to give the TV station info.
posted by nightrecordings at 8:21 AM on October 15, 2018 [2 favorites]

If you can travel to Wisconsin on election day for poll watching and voter protection (if you're an attorney, even better, but they are accepting both attorney and non-attorney volunteers), MESSAGE ME. The folks organizing the work are in need of more people.
posted by crush at 8:23 AM on October 15, 2018 [5 favorites]

Ah, here we go. If anyone wants to watch Brat get his ass handed to him, you can watch here tonight.
posted by nightrecordings at 8:24 AM on October 15, 2018

For 28 counties in NC affected by Hurricane Florence. the deadline for voter registration has been extended to 5 pm today. The counties are: Beaufort, Bladen, Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Duplin, Greene, Harnett, Hoke, Hyde, Johnston, Jones, Lee, Lenoir, Moore, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico, Pender, Pitt, Richmond, Robeson, Sampson, Scotland, Wayne and Wilson.

Early voting begins on Wednesday, Oct. 17th and runs through Saturday, Nov. 3rd.

Here is the list of all one stop voting sites in NC, listed alphabetically by county.
posted by Roger Pittman at 9:14 AM on October 15, 2018 [3 favorites]

Sharing something I read elsewhere: If you are turned away at the polls because your name is not on the register, say this: I request a provisional ballot as required by law.
posted by dywypi at 10:40 AM on October 15, 2018 [5 favorites]

VoteWithMe is a cool app that, in addition to getting information on your registration and local elections, lets you find out which of your phone contacts lives in a swing district and invites you to encourage them to vote. Ordinarily the privacy implications would concern me, but the more tech-savvy people in my circle are supporting it, not to mention a lot of progressive organizations.
posted by Cash4Lead at 11:21 AM on October 15, 2018 [2 favorites]

If you are turned away at the polls because your name is not on the register, say this: I request a provisional ballot as required by law.

This is good advice. I am a poll worker and we have same-day registration in Vermont (as well as a lot of other nifty things). Anyone who is trying to legitimately vote should know that you are allowed to have a provisional ballot. If you feel you are being intimidated at the pools or that someone else is, here are some phone numbers.

- Election Protection hotline led by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law 866-OUR-VOTE
- Justice Department Voting Rights Hotline at 800-253-3931; TTY line at 877-267-8971 or email the Justice Department Civil Rights Division at
- the hotline led by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Education Fund 888-Ve-Y-Vota
- the hotline led by APIAVote and Asian Americans Advancing Justice 888-API-VOTE
- The Arab American Institute Yalla Vote Hotline is 844-418-1682
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 1:49 PM on October 15, 2018 [8 favorites]

I'm an overseas citizen who'd like to register and request an absentee ballot in NJ. If I just submit an FPCA via email, as per:

will I receive a ballot via email? Is that it?
posted by the list of suspects is just you at 12:55 AM on October 16, 2018

Detailed information on provisional ballots by the National Conference of State Legislatures, including their basis in Federal law and varying state laws on when they are used and how they are handled.
posted by metaquarry at 5:18 AM on October 16, 2018

So if you're in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, I cannot recommend Naomi Kritzer's blog enough. She does great rundowns


That doesn't seem like "great rundowns for a lot of of the local elections."
posted by lstanley at 6:19 AM on October 16, 2018

The next paragraph is:

The entire Republican party, nationwide, has made it absolutely goddamn motherfucking clear that they will deny the vote to any person they judge likely to be a Democrat if they can come up with even the barest pretext that allows them to do it. They will purge voter registrations based on race and zip code. They will require people to get a government-issued photo ID, and then close down every office that would supply those IDs if they’re reachable by people in poor city neighborhoods or mostly-black small towns. They will, in a state where the local reservations have never gotten around to assigning street addresses, announce with less than a month before the election that you’ll need a street address to vote. They will reject online voter registrations. And while insisting that this is all to ensure the integrity of our elections (WHICH IS A LIE) they will refuse to fix systems that can literally be hacked.

That was specifically for the Secretary of State race, which would help control voting restrictions. Whether or not you think this information is valuable or the emotion involved is necessary is up to you, but all of it is true and verifiable, and the Republican candidate for secretary of state is running on the idea that there is massive voter fraud in Minnesota, when there is not.
posted by dinty_moore at 7:01 AM on October 16, 2018

Welp, I did it... I hope it went through!
posted by the list of suspects is just you at 7:53 AM on October 16, 2018 [3 favorites]

If anyone in Southern Illinois-- and I mean from Springfield on down-- wants to help get out the vote for the whole ticket, message me. We need all the knuckles on all the doors.
posted by dogheart at 2:24 PM on October 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

In Virginia in person absentee voting has started and according to Alexandria's website, it's a record setting year. I
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 5:22 PM on October 16, 2018

I started writing postcards (sunset in snow country posted about this org in a previous metatalk thread - thank you), through this organization, Postcards To Voters . They make it super simple - give you script suggestions, a campaign, and addresses. All you need are postcards and stamps.
posted by gt2 at 2:46 AM on October 17, 2018 [2 favorites]

gt2, I'm bringing postcards to a dinner party this Saturday--aiming for 100, but I'll take whatever I can get :-)
posted by duffell at 6:22 AM on October 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

GA early voting started on Monday at voter registration offices.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 6:24 AM on October 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

I like the look of Postcards To Voters, and it seems like a number of MeFites have been doing it.

They don't reveal whose campaigns they include, and make what seems like a reasonable enough justification for that: they don't want to sour relationships with campaigns that may use them in the future. But I consequently have no obvious way to evaluate PTV as a potential recipient of my time and effort.

Does Tony The Democrat have other bona fides? This Gotham article from Sep 2018 looks promising anyway.

Is there a better way of getting traction from home in a blue state, and being sure my time is well spent? I don't have a lot of time, but my family doesn't have time to live in a fascist autocracy.

Thanks to everyone who's already taking action!
posted by maniabug at 8:10 AM on October 17, 2018

The candidate I am supporting/running website/etc just got endorsed by Sanders which is great but also suuuuper polarizing around here.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 8:32 AM on October 17, 2018

Postcards to Voters doesn't reveal upcoming campaigns, but there's a list of past campaigns here. Regardless, it's easy enough to get into their system and then check in periodically (or follow them on Facebook) until there's a campaign you're really excited about.

I also really like textbanking. Phonebanking can be done from home but it's nicer to be with other volunteers, IMO.

Thanks for this post, Fizz!
posted by sunset in snow country at 11:00 AM on October 17, 2018 [2 favorites]

Abby Franquemont had a quick twitter rundown on how she researches local elections, if you want a place to start researching judges and commissioners and the like. The even shorter version is the League of Women Voters and Vote411.
posted by dinty_moore at 11:07 AM on October 17, 2018

One of my California-based FB friends just asked, "Georgia friends! What can those of us out of state do to make sure Dems don't get complacent, and make sure that everyone gets to the polls?"

Same goes for any flippable area, really. Besides "Donate," Postcards to Voters, phonebanking/textbanking, "Ask everybody you know to check their registration & here's a link to do it," any other suggestions?

I'll post jessamyn's list of phone numbers in my friend's thread, of course. And dywypi's "provisional ballot" script, with 23skidoo's caveat about check first if you have a felony conviction.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 4:24 PM on October 17, 2018

If you are turned away at the polls because your name is not on the register, say this: I request a provisional ballot as required by law.

In New York City, you have the right to see a judge the same day and get a court order allowing you to vote a regular ballot instead of a provisional ballot.

I have done this and encourage it for people who do not find their name in the book. If you vote a provisional ballot because your name is not in the book, mostly the board of elections will just verify whether your name is in the book or not and count/not count your provisional ballot on that basis. (They may partially count your ballot if you voted in the right place, but at the wrong table for races the election districts have in common.) If you have actually been left out of the book in error, they will likely just reject your ballot.
posted by Jahaza at 9:02 AM on October 18, 2018 [1 favorite]

If you're in or near Missouri, McCaskill needs boots on the ground to turn out the Democratic vote in Kansas City. We've got a horrible newish voter ID law that many voters aren't even aware of --- a big part of the canvassing script is devoted to helping people understand that, and taking their contact info back to the office if they need help obtaining ID.

Many hands make light work. My husband and I live maybe a thousand yards from the main KC campaign office, and believe me, they're taking all comers. If you want to help and are willing to couch- or floor-surf in a house with 3 cats, MeMail me.
posted by slenderloris at 5:52 PM on October 18, 2018 [1 favorite]

> They don't reveal whose campaigns they include

Tip: you can usually see open campaigns for postcards on the Postcards To Voters blog.

Here are the postcard campaigns that are open now:
- Katie Hill for Congress - CA-25
- Phil Bredesen for Senate - TN

- Jen Lunsford for NY State Senate - District 55
- Mike Revis for MO State House - District 97

- Stacey Abrams (for Gov) and Sarah Riggs Amico (for Lt Gov) - GA

- Yes on Second Chances (Amendment 4) - FL voting eligibility restoration
- There are some other campaigns not posted yet - namely for FL - that I see as options when requesting addresses.

I got an email from PTV today asking for each volunteer to request 5 addresses within the next 3 days to be able to finish three campaigns.

If you're running into decision paralysis about which campaign to write for: I get it. A suggestion: pick a person whose name you don't recognize in a state or local race.

For anyone interested in writing postcards but you're not sure:

Relevant AskMe: Is there evidence that Postcards to Voters works?

Some of this has already been mentioned earlier or elsewhere but adding this here in case it helps new folks:
  • They actually have a pretty thorough FAQ.
  • Creativity is not required. The FAQ even says the postcard can be boring. The important thing is to handwrite it and mail it out.
  • A real person will need to review/approve your first postcard by email (I'll talk more about this below), but after approval you can get new addresses/campaigns by texting their address bot anytime. You don't have to speak to anyone on the phone.
  • The minimum for PTV is four postcards, mailed within 3 days. That's it. Just 4! If you're not sure how many addresses you can do, just pick 4 and you can always ask for more if you have more time. You'll be able to have a much better idea of how long it takes you to finish after doing a couple of sets.
  • IMO the most important things are being able to follow directions and have legible handwriting, and of course dropping the cards in the mail. That's it.
  • There are always about three sentences/points that must be included. Any more is up to you. All of the talking points are provided and you can pick from a script, as gt2 said above. They even tell you how to address and sign the postcard.
  • Check out the PTV twitter feed for images of postcards. Some are very creative and artsy, and some just simple notes, nothing fancy.
  • If you aren't able to get through all the addresses you got, it's okay. Just be sure to email back the addresses so they can be reassigned.
  • If you're stuck on what kind of postcards to get, or where to get them quickly: the post office sells blank, prestamped postcards (blank on back) so you can just write on them and drop them in the mail, no stamps required. I get these directly from from my local PO. They cost 39c each (a postcard rate stamp is 35c). (They look like this: Fanciful Flowers, Azulillo)
  • Have more postcards on hand for the number of addresses you have. (to cover miswritten words / handwritten "typos")
  • Since I'm a nerd and I hardly ever like the campaign brochures I get in the mail (they rarely answer the questions I want answered!) - after including the required items, I always write as much info as I can in the space left. I include the candidate's website address. I pick out more positions from the list that I personally would want to know they support.
  • I use a black pen for most of the text, and highlight/underline/use color pens or markers for names (blue), dates, and important phrases so they stand out a little more.
  • If you do have to contact the PTV team over email, I've found them very responsive. I was frankly impressed by their promptness especially on a weekend.
I know I would have personally liked to have a better idea of how things worked before I signed up, so here are more details:

After you sign up on their website, you'll get an email and be asked to do one postcard (addressless). You'll get a very thorough set of instructions for what to do. It'll be a postcard for a current, real campaign. The instructions cover pretty much everything you need to know for the postcard. It looks like a LOT of info but it's good because it includes the scripted talking points, and you don't have to use everything! This is also basically their way of making sure you can actually read and follow directions.

Email them photos of your first postcard, and a human volunteer will review and give you feedback/approval, and ask you for the number of addresses you can do within three days.

After you get approved, all future addresses can be done through their website via a good form, or by texting their bot, Abby, for addresses. If done by SMS, you'll get link to a text file with the addresses (hosted on an AWS server), and the addresses will also be emailed to you simultaneously inside the body of the instructions. You'll see the instructions follow a pattern; there are repeated sections that are just there for reference. You don't have to talk to anybody. I often text Abby at night after work and get addresses right away.

I'm hoping all of that info will help clear things up and make it a little easier for people decide on whether they want to participate.
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 4:19 AM on October 19, 2018 [9 favorites]

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