It’s Primary Election Day 2023! One of the best civic days 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.
Just in case you need a reminder about why this primary election matters so much: In our majority one-party (Democratic) city, the May primary almost certainly determines who’ll be our next mayor — and who’ll fill the seats of our next City Council.
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.
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 — and, if not, ask if they’d like your help getting to your polling place.
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.)
HELP MAIL-IN VOTERS CURE THEIR BALLOTS.
Last November, hundreds of Philadelphians 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.
Your resource: The City Commissioners office — Room 142 in City Hall.
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.
Pizza to the Polls promises to drive their pizza truck to polling places with a line. From there, they serve slices to voters.
TAKE YOUR KIDS.
Philadelphia public schools are closed on May 16, 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
- 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 PHILADELPHIA CITIZEN ON THE PRIMARY ELECTION
Courtesy of the City of Philadelphia.