Toolkits for Election Action
OK, so now you're totally informed about the local candidates and ballot proposals – but you want to do more. Woot! We've got a few nonpartisan ideas for how to amp up awareness of the Nov. 7 election and help others get involved too.
But first, why not play a GAME?! Click here for the Ann Arbor Ward Challenge, an action-packed test of your ability to identify where this city's wards are located. (Note: It requires a mouse/trackpad to play.) The game is from the creative gray cells of Chris Salzman and Steve Kemsley of Ann Arbor's ScopeCreep Studios, so you have them to thank for your addiction. Check out their other games here.
HOST A PRE-ELECTION POTLUCK
Local elections often don't get much attention. Why not combine food – and food for thought – to become more informed voters? That's where a pre-election potluck can help! How about hosting one yourself?
The idea is to crowdsource the ballot with a little advance prep. You'll ask each person who attends to bring a dish to share – and to do a bit of research on one candidate on the ballot, then report out during the potluck gathering.
Beyond a fantastic opportunity to connect with friends, neighbors or co-workers, these get-togethers will help spotlight local elections in an informal setting. Below you'll find resources to help you host a pre-election potluck of your very own! (P.S. Take photos and send them our way – we'd love to see how it goes.)
POST A SIGN PROMOTING THE NOV. 7 GENERAL ELECTION
Print out this sign and post it somewhere prominent, like the front door of your home or an office window. Ask your favorite retailer to put one in their shop window, too. Put it on a stick and wave it at kids on Halloween. Better yet, create your own sign! (Ann Arbor Votes is nonpartisan, so we're interested in making sure people know that an election is happening on Nov. 7 – we're not promoting any particular candidate or ballot proposal.) Click here for a high resolution sign PDF that you can print out at 11" x 8.5" or larger.
ADOPT A POLLING PLACE
Voting should be a celebration, right? What if there were mini-festivals at the major polling stations on Election Day, with food carts and entertainment throughout the day? Because DEMOCRACY!!
While that vision might not be realized this year, you can take initiative on your own to adopt a polling place in your neighborhood. Even if you only plan events during peak hours – the morning from 7-9 a.m., lunchtime between 11 a.m.-1 p.m., or post-work hours from 5-7 p.m. – you can help create a more festive atmosphere for voters.
One caveat: Any activities must take place beyond the 100-foot mark that election workers will indicate outside all entrances to polling places. (This Michigan Bureau of Elections rule is why you see campaign volunteers clustered just past the 100-foot mark, too.)
With that in mind, here are some ideas:
- Check out the giant checkers set from the Ann Arbor District Library and set it up outside near the polling entrance. Voters can play on their way in and out of the polls!
- Get a box of sidewalk chalk and ask voters to complete this sentence: "I voted because....."
- Hand out CivCity's "Color Your Ward" coloring sheets to kids who come with their parents. (Download the PDF here.)
- Know a musician? Ask them to spend an hour serenading voters on Election Day.
- Or borrow a portable karaoke machine and ask voters to sing their favorite patriotic song.
Use your imagination – and let us know what happens!
BE AN ELECTION INSPECTOR
It takes a lot of manpower to handle the logistics of democracy. The city of Ann Arbor is looking for people to work at local polling places on Election Day – and they'll even pay you to do it! More details here. Or if you'd like to work the polls in other jurisdictions, check out info on the Washtenaw County elections division site.
WHAT'S YOUR IDEA?
If you've got an idea to help raise awareness of the Nov. 7 general election, we'd love to hear it. Email Mary Morgan at email@example.com and let us know!