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Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Bring a Phone Charger and Other Tips for Voting in the 2020 Election

Posted By on Wed, Oct 28, 2020 at 3:38 PM

click to enlarge Don't forget your mask on Tuesday! - ANTHONY QUINTANO / FLICKR

Not only is this the most important election of our lives, it’s also the first time we’ve all voted during a global pandemic.

Nobody really knows what to expect at the polls on Election Day. Will they be packed because of the seriousness of what’s on the line? Will they be emptier than usual because so many people voted in advance? Your guess is as good as the experts when it comes to this one, but the many poll workers and volunteers are going to do their best to get you safely inside to vote and then send you on your way.



Polling places are open from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Election Day. And remember: If you are in line to vote by 7 p.m., you have the right to cast your vote, no matter how long it takes to get all the way to the voting booth.

It’s likely that (aside from masks and social distancing), everything will probably be totally normal at your polling place. But since nobody is sure what to expect on November 3, 2020, it wouldn’t hurt to arrive prepared.

Here are some of the many ways that you can arrive feeling super prepared for whatever you might face on Election Day:

Bring a mask
Even if you don’t feel like wearing one for yourself, there will be many elderly and sick people out voting, too, and they deserve to be able to stay safe, too.

Bring some hand sanitizer
You will have to touch a few things inside, so having some hand sanitizer easily available might make you feel better about potential cooties. And if you’re filling out a paper ballot, bringing your own pen (black or blue ink) is cool, too.

Bring a phone charger
Or even better, bring one of those plug-in battery packs in case you’re stuck outside or not near an outlet. Most people standing in line will have their phones out to refresh the news and to look up what’s going to be on their ballot, so if you’re one of those types having an extra battery around can’t hurt.

Bring the phone number of the Missouri Voter Protection Coalition with you
They'll have their hotline team of attorneys who answer the phones and can answer a variety of questions, and they welcome any and all calls about issues at your polling place. They’re available right now, too, if you need help making a voting plan or have any other election questions. You can get them at 1-866-OUR-VOTE (8683).

Bring a coat or blanket
Here in St. Louis, we’re expected to have mercifully decent weather on Tuesday (with a high of 63 degrees!) but forecasts can change quickly and your voting line might end up outdoors because of social distancing, so having some winter gear available wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world.

Bring a chair
It’s possible that you might have to be in line for a while on Tuesday, so if you’re driving to the polls maybe throw a camping chair in your trunk just in case. And if you have limited mobility or stamina, you also might want to bring your cane, walker or chair with you, too.

Bring a buddy
Again, if the line takes a while, you might want to have somebody available to hold your spot while you dart off to use the restroom or ask a poll worker a question.

Bring some snacks
If you have low blood sugar or if you’re just one of those constantly hungry types, it could pay off to keep a little snack in your pocket just in case.

Bring a list of how to vote for judges, measures and amendments
It’s hard to remember which way you’re voting on all of the things on your ballot. So make a list and bring that list on paper, if you can, just in case your phone dies or something. If you want to find out what all will be on your ballot before you get to the polls, click here.

Bring your contact list
It’s likely that you’ve already cleared out your schedule to get your vote time to fit into your day, so just in case your babysitter or your elder care worker has to leave, it’s great to have a list with you of other people you know who can cover for you or pop over to your house to walk your dog in a pinch if you get stuck in line.

Email the author at jaime.lees@riverfronttimes.com
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