As you likely know already, today is Election Day in America. We’re sure you’re going to vote. (Right?) That is, after all, the lowest hanging fruit of civic engagement, something we know you care about.
But that is only the beginning, not the end. What else can you do to keep the momentum going?
We have some ideas.
MAKE A PLAN
If you’re overwhelmed with a big list of election-related actions (like the one below), here’s an excellent place to start. Simply answer a few questions about things like how much time you have, where you live, what your skills are, and what issues you care about. Based on that information, Crush the Midterms will deliver a personalized plan straight to your inbox.
The first thing you’ll need to do is find out where you’ll be voting. Just enter your address into PA Voter Services to find out where you’ll be headed on November 6th.
It’s one thing to be registered, but you also need to know who you’ll be voting for. Ballotpedia is nonpartisan website that contains neutral and verifiable information on government officials and their programs. You can also use their sample ballot lookup to figure out what your options are in the area where you’re voting.
Committee of Seventy, around since 1904, is one of the states’ most well-known independent organizations advocating for better government. On their website, you can find information about civic engagement, voting and election registration (in multiple languages including Chinese, Khmer, Korean, Spanish, and Vietnamese). The organization has also rolled out a new app in collaboration with Milkcrate, to help create a culture of voting in the Philly region. By partnering with different companies and organizations, Committee of Seventy encourages participants to create initiatives through WeVote, like giving flexible lunch hours on election day or hosting a GOTV party. You can download the app here.
The official PA government website has a voters resource guide that outlines the top five things that every PA-registered voter should know. Give it a quick read before heading to the polls, and make sure you know your rights in case of situations like voting machines not working, and what to do if you are a first-time voter.
This dense pdf contains verified, research-based information on every candidate’s voting record and interest group ratings. The guide also includes interesting factors such as “political courage,” which describes how much candidates are willing to disclose where they stand on issues they may face if elected. The information covers the entire United States, so don’t be discouraged by the length (over 100 pages)—you only need to look at the sections pertaining to PA!
GET OTHERS TO VOTE
VoteThatJawn 💻 🗣
The upcoming elections are preceded by a disturbing fact: the amount of youth voters in the city has been traditionally low. In the 2015 Philadelphia mayoral election, only 10 percent of the overall turnout—roughly 33,000 votes—came from 18-to-34-year-olds. VoteThatJawn arose from that problem. An initiative started by SafeKidStories.com, the movement mobilizes young voters from high schools, universities, and youth organizations to register their peers and rally to the polls.
Like Outvote, “VoteWithMe is a mobile app that uses your personal network to help you get out the vote. VoteWithMe gives you a list of the highest-impact potential voters in your phone’s address book. Then, it’s up to you to remind each of your contacts to vote.”
Resistance Labs is a nonprofit that uses technology to focus on tangible outcomes like voter registration, candidate recruitment, and elections. Their specialization is in peer-to-peer texting, done mostly by volunteers who text in order to reach out, mobilize, and educate their community. They’ve sent over 7 million texts for hundreds of candidates across 46 states. If you’re someone who’s quick to hit send, this may be an option for you.
Getting to the polls on a weekday can be a major hurdle for some people. Get a ride, or help out a fellow Philadelphian, by signing up a carpool ride! You have several options, depending on your preference: sign up on a website through Carpool Vote or Drive The Vote, or use your phone with the Carpool2Vote mobile app.
Help Committee of Seventy improve their data and services by filling out their post-election survey.
Magnify Progress 💻🗣 ☎️
This app streamlines high-impact bills based on your interests, and lists actions you can take based on that. The actions have something for everyone, depending on what your strengths are—making calls,, signing petitions, and donating are all options.
IssueVoter 💻🗣 ☎️
This website streamlines and summarizes high-impact bills based on your interests, and allows you to respond with one click that sends an email to your rep. IssueVoter also keeps track of your rep’s votes and bill outcomes, so you can stay informed even when issues aren’t in the headlines.
Sixty-six Wards is a website that provides detailed analysis of Philly’s voting trends. The website’s creator created this page to talk about what it means to be a committeeperson in Philly, and how to get elected. If you’re passionate about civic engagement or are looking to get involved with government in an official capacity, this is a great place to start!
Color of Change is the largest online racial justice organization in the US. As an online network, Color of Change focuses on several issues including tackling diverse representation in Hollywood, holding police accountable, and mobilizing votes in the black community. They organize events like Black Women’s Brunches and Black People’s Brunches to teach people how to organize locally. Volunteer with them to get involved in these initiatives.
Climate Hawks 🗣☎️
It’s pretty clear at this point that rising global temperatures is something we should all be worrying about. Climate Hawks focuses on getting votes to officials who are willing to take on climate change, and offers various volunteering opportunities which include calling voters, recruiting other “climate hawks” to run for Congress, or contributing digital or design skills.
Got any tech skills? Use your them in locally impactful projects! Code For Philly hosts a number of impact-oriented hackathons, and offers a large number of ways to get involved in ongoing civic hacking projects. If you’re not sure where to start, you can browse their site or attend a weekly meetup.
If you are looking to put your coding skills to good use, the Progressive Coders Network enlists tech and non-tech activists to help build open-source tools to empower grassroots movements and reduce the influence of big money in politics. Projects that have been created have crowdsourced voter files, arranged carpooling on election day, and alerts for congressional votes.
☎️ – Involves making calls
📲 – Mobile App
🗣 – Involves canvassing/in-person volunteering
📖 – Resource
💻 – Web-based