Snacks, Lawn Chairs and Patience: Your Checklist for Election 2020

Snacks, Lawn Chairs and Patience: Your Checklist for Election 2020

Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

We’ve all seen social media marketing and persuading us to go out and vote. Maybe your friends and family have shared that they’ve voted and who they’ve voted for, either through early voting or mail-in ballots. 

But what exactly do you need to know about navigating the polls on election day? 

Here are some tips on what to bring, where to go and how to stay entertained.

What to bring

First and foremost, don’t forget your mask. The COVID-19 pandemic is still raging strong, with many states seeing a spike in cases. Bringing your mask and some hand sanitizer should be a first priority to stay safe while voting. 

Secondly, bring a couple of forms of ID. At least 36 states have laws requesting voters to show some form of identification at the polls. Some states require voters to show a photo identification document, such as a driver’s license, state-issued identification card, military ID and many other forms of ID. Other states accept non-photo identification, such as a bank statement with name and address or other documents that do not necessarily have a photo. 

Check the requirements of your state here.

Where to go and how to get there

Voters must go to their assigned polling place. To find your polling center, click here.  If you run into problems while voting, call the Election Protection Hotline at 866-687-8683 or your local voter protection hotline.

And what if you don’t have a way to get to the polling station? If you don’t have a car or someone to drive you and your city lacks accessible public transportation, ride-share services such as Lyft and Uber are offering free and discounted rides to the polls. 

Pack a lunch and lawn chair

Polling lines tend to be pretty long, and standing on your feet for a couple of hours may be discouraging, getting you thinking maybe it’s not worth it. Bring a lawn chair, some snacks or lunch, and water to hold you over until it’s your turn to vote. It might not be a bad idea to bring a book and make sure your phone is charged.

Listen to our Election Day playlist

Or make your own! Waiting in line can be pretty boring, but listening to an upbeat playlist will keep your mind off of how long the line is. You could also listen to an audiobook or check out our Adult ISH podcast to pass the time. 

Think twice before posting a photo of your ballot 

Maybe a couple of your friends posted a photo of themselves voting, and social media platforms have repeatedly reminded you to vote, so you want to share that moment with the world. You did your civic duty, and you want to broadcast it, right? Well, think again.

In some states, it’s against the law. You don’t want to end up getting charged with a felony for taking a photo of your ballot or a selfie in a voting booth. So think twice before posting those voting photos, and remember you can always post a selfie post-voting with your “I Voted” sticker. (Or look at these “I voted” augmented reality face-filter sticker options from Yahoo! and RYOT.) Check out this list of where your state stands on ballot selfies.