One way to protect democracy in the seven weeks left before the election.
Do you want a better way to get your vote, and those of your neighbors, counted? To act with your community to excite others about voting and inspire them? You’ve seen the dangers of voting in a normal polling place (because of the pandemic, or voter suppression). You’ve read that mail ballots may not even arrive in time to get counted.
#walkthevote is a non-partisan movement to support community leaders and voters organizing local “voting parades” to drop off absentee ballots. We’re volunteers — organizers, activists, technologists, all ordinary people — and have spent no money.
We’ve got a toolkit to support community leaders in leading a #walkthevote walk. (To be fair, if you’re reading this, and thinking “I could just do that in my neighborhood!”… great! Go for it.) We’ve got a tool to recruit others to join your walk, and guidelines to make your #walkthevote properly distanced and walking/wheelchair friendly.
Walks will take place every Sunday, as soon as ballot dropoffs are open, until the Monday and Tuesday of the election — or whenever you organize one! The first walks will start in Michigan — one of the earliest states to allow voting.
If you want to lead a #walkthevote or walk in one, sign up here: https://wewalkthevote.com. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to support us in some other way (we can use lots of help!).
More on why we’re doing this:
The National Vote at Home Institute, the National Conference of State Legislatures, and the U.S. Election Assistance Commission have all identified ballot drop off as a safe alternative to in-person and mail-in voting. Colorado ranked second in voter turnout in 2018 and is viewed by many experts as a model for election preparedness, in part because the vast majority of Colorado voters use ballot drop-off.
If you want to drop off your absentee ballot, though, you might struggle. (Assuming you even know this is an option, which many people do not.) Finding a list of ballot dropoff locations in your state might be impossible. You might be worried about dropping off your one precious ballot in a box where nobody will ever look at it.
#walkthevote tackles these issues by making ballot drop-off a community moment, to both supply information and create safety in numbers. #walkthevote captains will communicate with us and with local elections officials to give walkers the info they need to get their ballots counted. We believe voters will be less worried about the novel experience of dropping their ballot into a box if their whole town is out walking with them.
#walkthevote builds on the democratic tradition of marching to make your voice heard. Here, marching means taking your ballot directly to election administrators; there’s no postal service or other intermediary in between you and your vote. Marching means establishing voting as a communal event, where citizens ensure their neighbors’ voices are heard along with their own. And if the pandemic has taught us anything it’s that, even when everything around us crumbles, we’ll always be able to march.
I should make clear: the #walkthevote core team is playing a modest role in this process. We’re supporting you by providing a website for people to sign up to walk, and a small toolkit to help captains organize their walks. Anyone can set up a walk and encourage their neighbors to drop off ballots with them — do it, if you like, without any support from us! We’re intentionally not publishing a list of names or friends who are doing this (as much as I am grateful to them and the many organizations supporting us), because we’re not important here. You are.