2020 Voter Mobilization Toolkit

"I Registered to Vote, Now What?!"

2020 is an important year for our democracy: with the census and a national election both taking place this year, our individual participation is key in determining the political landscape of our country for the next four to ten years. But if you’ve completed the census and have registered to vote and you’re eager to do more to ensure that other people’s voices are represented, this resource guide was made especially for you!

Know Your Rights at the Voting Booth

Voters have special rights at the polls that are important to be aware of in case any of them are challenged. 

  • The Right to Vote Free of Intimidation
    • Federal law (18 U.S. Code Section 594) prohibits the intimidation of voters and can result in prison time. 
  • The right to vote by provisional ballot if your name is not on the list of registered voters
  • The right to vote with accommodations
    • Efforts to protect the voting rights of people with disabilities has led to accessible polling places that meet the American Disabilities Act requirements and “curbside voting.’’ But not everyone is in favor of these accommodation, so it’s best to check the rules in your state.
  • The right to vote after the polls close
    • If you’re in line when a polling place closes and you still want to vote, stay put.
  • The right to re-vote
    • If you make a mistake, like voting for the unintended candidate or voting or more than one person for a single office, ask a pollster for help. Replacement ballots are available.
  • The right to vote in your native language
    • Voters who do not wish to vote in English (e.g. English may be a second language) can receive assistance at the polls by bringing a friend or relative. Under the Voting Rights Act, some counties are required to provide bilingual assistance to voters in the language they speak.

Deliver Mail-in Ballots

Check in with the people in your community who may feel unsafe showing up to vote in person, such as seniors and/or people with compromised immune systems, and offer to return their ballot to a drop box.

Some important information for you and others to know:

1. The last day to file an application to vote by mail is October 29.

2. Ballots must be postmarked by Election Day, Nov. 3, or they will not be counted. If a ballot envelope is placed in a mail drop box on or near Election Day, that envelope may be postmarked late and will not be eligible to be counted.

3. Where are the drop boxes? You can find an updated list of drop boxes in Cook County here.

4. Not all states allow a third party to drop off a voter’s ballot. For detailed information about the rules and regulations in your state, visit the National Conference of State Legislature.

Don't Get REJECTED: Mistakes to Avoid When Voting By Mail

Due to the pandemic, nearly 75% of Americans are now eligible to vote by mail. People must be aware of common mistakes and reasons why ballots get rejected in order to avoid these mistakes. According to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, the top reasons why ballots get rejected are missing signatures, unverified signatures, or late arrivals.

To avoid these errors:

  1. Read all the directions on the ballot.
  2. Help family and friends navigate the ballot.
  3. Return your ballot ASAP!
  4. Spread the word!

Sustain the Backbone of Our Country's Democracy: Sign Up to be a Poll Worker!

Election workers are essential to ensuring that elections are a success.

Each state recruits poll workers differently. Typically signing up to be a poll worker is done with your local election office. In some places this is a county election office but it may also be a registrar or clerk at the county or local level. For detailed steps on how to sign up, visit Work Elections.

There are several roles you can take as a poll worker. If you live in Cook County, check out the different roles waiting to be filled by someone like you!

Getting De-Registered is a Thing, Make Sure it Doesn’t Happen to You.

In 2018, the Supreme Court ruled that states may kick people off voting rolls if they skip a few elections and fail to respond to a notice from election officials. To avoid being told on the day of elections that you’ve been kicked off the rolls because you missed a piece of mail, check your voter registration status and that of others!

Spread the word using the social media post we created specifically for this action!

Educate Others About the Candidates and Issues on the Ballot

We can’t underestimate the important role local leaders play in shaping our everyday lives. The COVID-19 pandemic has created the perfect example of this. Governors, mayors, local elected school boards, etc. have played an essential role in figuring out how to keep their communities safe. There are plenty of ballot lookup tools you and others can use when going through the ballot from top to bottom, such as Ballot Pedia, Ballot Ready, and Vote 411.

Also on the ballot are measures that are important for people to be educated about. This November, Illinois voters have the opportunity to vote for a Fair Tax amendment to the state constitution, which will eliminate the requirement that Illinois tax income at a single rate.

There have been a lot of ads on TV and social media about the Fair Tax – some of which are just plain wrong. As you prepare to vote in Illinois and help others navigate the ballot, make sure you have all the facts about the Fair Tax to help inform your choice. Check out our Fair Tax Myth Busters and use our posts on Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook to spread the word.

We Hope this Guide Helps You Prioritize and Protect Democracy!

Completed one or more of the above recommendations? Congratulations! 

Celebrate this accomplishment by sharing with your friends and family on social media.

You can also add a frame to your profile picture that lets others know you are a democracy defender!