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The first duty of every citizen is to vote

The general election is today, Tuesday, November 8! Here is everything you need to know about how to vote.

If you are not familiar with the candidates, check out The Philadelphia Citizen’s guide to who’s on the ballot and Who’s Running for City Council.

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Your toolkit for better citizenship

One of the founding tenets of The Philadelphia Citizen is to get people the resources they need to become better, more engaged citizens of their city.

We hope to do that in our Good Citizenship Toolkit, which includes a host of ways to get involved in Philadelphia — whether you want to contact your City Councilmember to voice your concerns about challenges impacting your neighborhood, get those experiencing homelessness the goods they need, or simply go out to dinner somewhere where you know your money is going toward a greater good.

Find an issue that’s important to you in the list below, and get started on your journey of A-plus citizenship.

Vote and strengthen democracy

Stand up for marginalized communities

Create a cleaner, greener Philadelphia

Help our local youth and schools succeed

Support local businesses

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How To Up Your Election Day Game

It’s November 8. Election Day in Philadelphia. You voted. Or, you’re going to vote. There is still more you can do

How To Up Your Election Day Game

It’s November 8. Election Day in Philadelphia. You voted. Or, you’re going to vote. There is still more you can do

Huzzah! It’s Election Day 2022! The last best civic day this year, and a time for Philly to shine.

By now, you must have either voted; made a plan for voting; or made a plan to make a plan for voting. (Right? If not, we’ll wait while you do — polling places are open from 7am to 8 pm.) Got a question about anything voting related? We got you.

We don’t need to tell you why this election, in particular, matters so much. But in case you’re still unsure, here are just three reasons why your vote is important today: We get to elect a new governor; we get to elect a new U.S. Senator, who may determine the makeup of Congress. Oh, and democracy may be on the line. You know: It’s a big deal.

Got that out of the way?

Read on to see what else you can do today to ensure voting is safe and easy for everyone.

PUT AN ELECTION SIGN IN YOUR WINDOW.

Doesn’t need to be partisan. Just needs to remind everyone it’s Election Day — and encourage others to do their part in the American experiment.

Click on this photo for instructions to make a VOTE sign from Kid Made Modern.

WEAR YOUR “I VOTED” STICKER.

It’s not about bragging — although you totally deserve to. It’s about silently and visually reminding everyone who sees you that they need to vote, too. Call it peer encouragement, if you will.

“People think of themself as part of a group, so that naturally means that what your peers do is going to matter a lot,” Stefano DellaVigna, a behavioral economist at University of California, Berkeley, told Bloomberg News last week. “Having some sense of signaling to others that you voted, or encouragement from others to vote — or maybe some shame if you didn’t vote — very naturally fits into the way that we think people kind of approach a decision.”

MAKE SURE FRIENDS AND FAMILY VOTE, NO MATTER WHERE THEY LIVE.

You can find your or anyone’s Pennsylvania polling place by entering an address on this page.

TELL A NEIGHBOR. OR 12.

By many accounts, turnout for this midterm election may be the highest its been in several years. That does not mean most eligible voters will cast a ballot, for a variety of reasons.

This is where you can help. Make sure your neighbors are planning to vote by letting them know a few reasons why it matters. Here’s a place to start:

Or, craft your own voting story into an on-the-fly version of deep canvassing. It’s proven to get out the vote, one person at a time:

TAKE FRIENDS TO THEIR POLLING PLACE.

Got the day off, or even an hour to spare? Offer to help neighbors get to their polling places, by walking or driving them there. (Not recommended: Riding them on your handlebars.)

Or, offer to fetch them a Lyft, which is offering 50 percent off (up to $10) a ride to your polling place. Preload the code “VOTE22.”

Photo by OSCE Parliamentary Assembly

HELP MAIL-IN VOTERS CURE THEIR BALLOTS.

Hundreds of Philadelphians have dropped off their ballots with mistakes, ranging from not signing or dating them to not enclosing the secrecy envelope — which means their votes will not be counted. It’s not too late to fix. Pennsylvania law allows voters to go to City Hall in person to “cure” their ballots.

First, go here for a searchable database (courtesy of local citizen Michael Fichman) of voters with mistakes on their ballots. If you know anyone on the list, let them know. Then, ask if they need help getting to the City Commissioners office — Room 142 in City Hall — to ensure their vote counts.

SHARE ON SOCIAL.

Is it peer pressure? Sort of. Bragging? A little.

It’s also another great way to remind everyone in your network to vote — and to share your pride in taking part in the process.

Also, there’s bonafide proof that sharing on social — Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, Mastodon, if you prefer — that you voted and thanking others for voting on social media leverages social norms that bring people to the polls.

FEED POLL WORKERS.

There’s no law against bringing snacks or coffee to the good people working the polls. Need an idea? Can’t go wrong with Munchkins. Or soft pretzels.

FEED VOTERS.

Pizza to the Polls promises to drive their pizza truck to polling places with a line. From there, they serve slices to voters.

Get in the mood with a pizza and voting party at City Hall, beginning at 7:30am. Questlove and DJ Jazzy Jeff will be there spinning. You can turn in your ballot at City Hall, too.

Courtesy of Pizza to the Polls.

TAKE YOUR KIDS.

Philadelphia public schools are closed, and kids are allowed in the voting booth with you. In fact, it should be a requirement to teach them by example and get them jazzed about it. Let them push the buttons — and ask for an extra “I voted” sticker.

TALK TO YOUR BOSS ABOUT LETTING PEOPLE OUT EARLY.

One of the reasons people don’t vote? Scheduling. In lieu of rules requiring employers to give workers time off for voting, it takes advocacy on the part of said workers to make the case. Can you be that advocate? Or are you the boss? Pick democracy.

REPORT PROBLEMS AT THE POLLS.

Voters should be able to vote without disruption or intimidation. Although only a registered poll watcher and poll workers can linger at a polling place, a voter or passerby can certainly report the following types of illegal activities:

  • Aggressive, confrontational or threatening behavior inside or outside the polling place — including requesting identification
  • Blocking access to an entrance, exit, sign-in table or voting machine
  • Discrimination based on race, ethnicity, national origin, language, disability or religion — or questioning about citizenship, criminal record or political affiliation
  • Photographing or recording voters in order to intimidate them
  • Election signs inside a polling place
  • Vandalism
  • Yelling, shouting, taunting, or otherwise threatening with noise, including music
  • Interfering in any manner with a voter’s right to a secret ballot

To make a report, you can call the Department of State’s voter hotline at (877) VOTESPA (1-877-868-3772). If you’re a registered voter, you can also submit a complaint online.

MORE FROM THE CITIZEN ON GETTING OUT THE VOTE

 

Photo by Dan Dennis / Unsplash

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