At Points of Light, we join our friends and partners at Civic Alliance in the shared belief that every individual should be able to live their most civically engaged life, and voting is a main component of that ideal. In fact, according to Points of Light’s civic engagement research, 78% of respondents said post-COVID-19 voting will be more important than ever.
Unsure whether you have the time or resources to get involved? Good news — in addition to voting, there are more ways you can engage and help get others involved. Below are some individual and community-oriented volunteer opportunities as well as volunteer opportunities with local, nonpartisan nonprofits.
Working at the Polls
Power the Polls recruits poll workers to ensure a safe, fair elections. Part of their focus is on recruiting healthy, low-risk volunteers to ensure that those workers most susceptible to COVID-19 are given the space to take care of their health, while still keeping polling sites open and available for efficient in-person voting.
There are many kinds of jobs for poll workers to do, including helping voters check in, maintain physical distance in lines, understand their ballots, protect their privacy and cast their votes. Other tasks might include wiping down machines and equipment, and with absentee and mail voting, poll workers can also help open and count mailed ballots.
Hotline & Field Assistance
Election Protection led by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law – is the nation’s largest nonpartisan voter protection coalition. This organization provides a resource to help you find your state’s voter registration deadlines, request absentee or mail-in ballots or learn how to vote in person during early voting or on Election Day. During election seasons, they also recruit volunteers in a number of states across the country to help voters. Through the 866-OUR-VOTE hotline and their voter assistance field program, Election Protection helps ensure eligible voters are able to participate in our democracy while collecting data for meaningful reform so that elections are free, fair and accessible.
Letter Writing & Phone Banking
VoteRiders maintains a list of current volunteer opportunities, including a letter-writing program targeted toward voters who are likely to have voter ID and voting-related questions. They also run a phone banking system to call voters who have indicated that they need assistance or have questions. Volunteers are provided scripts and voter lists.
Peer To Peer Texting
HeadCount is a nonpartisan organization that helps voters register and make a plan to vote. They’re present at concerts, festivals and community events. They also run a robust peer-to-peer texting program. Texting takes place during 2-hour evening sessions. Volunteers can sign up for existing sessions or, if there is interest within a company, HeadCount can set up a specially scheduled session for the team.
Pizza To The Polls
Pizza to the Polls’ mission is to deliver free food to people who are waiting in long lines while participating in civic life. You can participate by sending in reports of long lines wherever people are doing their civic duty, and they’ll send in the delicious reinforcements!
Driving Voters to Dropboxes or Polls
Some counties only have one dropbox, or a polling location may be a bit further this year. If you are healthy and able, offer to drive a family member or neighbor to vote. Remember, many states offer early voting, so you may not have to wait until Election Day to do this good deed.
Time Off From Work
Talk to your employer early if you need to ask for time off or schedule flexibility to vote early or on Election Day. Many employers as part of the Civic Alliance’s 100% In For Democracy campaign have committed time off for their employees to vote.
There are several states that require absentee ballot voters to have a witness participate. Often a witness may be asked to give their name or signature on a voter’s ballot. Offer to be a witness so that your neighbor can successfully submit their ballot according to your state laws.
Babysitting & Dog Walking
Offer to babysit little ones at home if your family member or friend needs support to vote or would like to volunteer as a poll worker during the early vote or on Election Day. If your friend or neighbor is volunteering as a poll worker this election season, they might be working long hours from opening to closing. Consider dog walking for them — or even for voters waiting in a long line on Election Day.
Bake Sale Fundraiser
Love to bake? Host a classic bake sale (or lemonade stand) to raise funds for the nonprofit organization of your choice or for a candidate or campaign you’d like to see win the election. Remember, it’s important to individually wrap your items.
Find more volunteer opportunities in your area through Points of Light Engage. However you decide to get involved this year, we’re cheering you on as you use your time, talent and creativity to participate in democracy.