6 last-minute ways to volunteer during the 2020 election

Oct. 27, 2020, 8:31 p.m.

If you have an Instagram or have watched the news this year, I am sure you are aware of these two facts: The 2020 election is a huge deal, and COVID-19 complicates the already arduous campaign process. In years past, elections were marked with mass canvassing and rallies, but that simply can’t be the case this year. For those looking to get involved in campaign volunteering during the most crucial days, here are some resources to get you started.

  1. Phone banking: Phone banking is one of the most effective and accessible tools to use during the pandemic to contact voters. The perks are that you can do it at home, and there are phone banking shifts available daily through both partisan and nonpartisan organizations. At Stanford, Cardinal for Biden has shifts on Saturdays and Sundays. If you’re looking for nonpartisan organizations, I recommend phone banking with When We All Vote. 
  2. Text banking: Text banking is similar to phone banking in almost every way, but text banking can be more accessible for some students and also a bit less stress-inducing than a phone call.  
  3. Lit drops: Literature dropping is an excellent way to get involved in person without coming into contact with people. You simply have to drop off campaign materials at voters’ doorsteps.  
  4. Friend banking: To put it simply, “Friends don’t let friends skip elections.” The easiest action you can take to make a difference in this upcoming election is to check in on your friends and family. Ask them about their voting plan. Offer to give them a ride to an early voting center. Share relevant information on registration deadlines. These are all easy action items that can be done in minutes. 
  5. Become a poll worker: As seen most dramatically in Georgia this week, there is currently a poll worker shortage. It is more important than ever that those with lower COVID risk step up and become poll workers so that higher risk and immunocompromised poll workers can step down. If not, there may be poll closures and massive lines, as seen in the primary election. 
  6. Canvassing: Canvassing still exists in 2020, believe it or not.  Although canvassing during coronavirus is not ideal, there are ways to do socially-distanced canvassing in accordance with the CDC recommendations. In-person canvassing events are sparse in comparison to phone and text banking, but could always use more volunteers.

The best tool to access any of these opportunities is Mobilize. Here you can search for the type of event, campaign affiliation, date, location and ADA accessibility.  For those who live in California, maybe try a phone bank in a swing state like Pennsylvania or Wisconsin. For those who are night owls on the East Coast maybe try a text bank in the Pacific time zone. 

Either way, volunteering is a crucial step towards scoring wins this Nov. 3. The trajectory of our environment, our democracy and our rights are on the ballot this year. Join the amazing electoral organizers and advocates who tirelessly facilitate voter outreach events by doing what you can to make an impact. 

Contact Mikayla Tillery at mtillery ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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