With eleven states postponing their primaries to later dates, how might you need to prepare differently for GOTV this primary season?
As we navigate all the changes that come with a world dealing with COVID-19, we need to be intentional about how we are getting staff and volunteers ready for having effective conversations with people about voting. Consider finding the answers to these common questions for your state and preparing a backgrounder for your team.
As always, specific voter questions about personal circumstances should be referred to the Voter Protection group in the state. But, as a leader in your community, be sure to be up-to-date with your election information. New voting procedures change all the time, and each cycle will inevitably face its own unique challenges.
While this years’ COVID-19 “challenge” might test the strength of our democratic systems, we have to do everything that we can to find creative (and safe) ways to get out the vote!
Here are some questions for you to consider:
Polling Times and Locations
• What times are polls open on Election Day?
• Have polling locations changed since the last election cycle or even in the past couple of months, weeks, and days?
• If you have early voting, what dates and times is it available?
• Where is it available (and is that different from Election Day polling locations)?
• Have these dates/times/locations changed due to public health concerns?
Voting By Mail
• Do you have vote by mail options in your state?
• How does one request a mail-in ballot? How much postage is needed to mail the ballot in?
• What is the deadline for mailing the ballot in?
• Can a community member turn in ballots for elderly or quarantined people?
• Does your state offer same-day voter registration on Election Day?
• Have any of the same-day voter registration policies been changed recently?
• How does someone look up if they are registered to vote?
• What’s a reliable website that folks can check their registration status?
Resources for Voters
• What is the most reliable website for my state for finding a voter’s polling location or checking voter registration status? If multiple sources are available, be sure to double-check / cross-reference; there is a lot of shifting information as states adjust their plans due to COVID-19.
• If you do not have a preferred local resource for this, Vote.org’s Polling Place Locator is the best resource to use.
• Does your state have a Voter ID requirement?
• If so, what are the approved form of IDs that a voter can use to vote?
• Some states require an ID for first-time voters only. If this is the law in your state, be sure to know that!
• Is there a rides-to-the-polls program being operated in your community?
• If yes, how does a voter connect to the program to secure a ride?
• Is Lyft and/or Uber offering free or discounted rides in your community and how does one access that?
• Are there any local travel restrictions due to COVID19 that could potentially hamper these programs?
• If someone is in line to vote before polls close, will they still be allowed to vote?
• If someone is a person with a felony conviction, do they have the right to vote in their state?
• If someone attempts to vote and is told they are not able to at your polling location, who can they call for assistance?
• What is the voter protection hotline in your community?
• Who do they report problems at the polling location to?
If you do not have a preferred local resource for these, the National Election Protection Project from The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law offers national support via the Election Protection website or their hotline: 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683)
GOTV During COVID-19
As we continue to move into unprecedented times, finding the answers to these questions will prepare your campaign to stay on track and put your voters first.