Help Friends & Family Make a Plan to Vote
💭 Break down the ballot
When you're not sure exactly who and what are on your ballot, voting can feel like a test you didn't study for. Luckily, there are a lot of resources you and your networks can utilize when getting acquainted with your ballot. We recommend BallotReady and WeVote. Many organizations also put out endorsement guides.
📓 Make a concrete plan
People are drastically more likely to vote—or work out, or cook dinner, or anything really—if they have a plan they know they can stick to. This year, with so many different options for voting, it’s especially important to pick a plan, set reminders, and follow through on it.
Here are a couple questions that can help guide this plan-making:
- How? Will they vote by mail, early/absentee in-person, or on Election Day?
- When? What are their voter registration deadlines, deadlines for requesting a mail-in ballot, or voting early/absentee in-person?
- What? Does your friend or family member live in a state that requires a witness’ signature, or where you can bring your mail-in ballot to the polls on Election Day? What kind of ID or proof of residence will they need? Planning out each need will make the process more accessible and prevent last-minute confusion.
✅ Follow through
While having a plan is a crucial step, actually sticking to that plan is the essential part. Make an accountability plan with your friend or family member: have them tell you (or someone) their voting plan, and agree how you will follow up with them about it. If you're both voting by mail, fill out your ballots together on a Zoom call or FaceTime.
🎈 Make it fun & social
Think of a small reward you can give yourselves when you’ve both voted—a cute “I voted” selfie, a fancy coffee, a nice dinner, a nap. Whatever floats your boat, will help you both remember to vote, and will make you feel good after.
Have a Conversation About Voting
☀️ Connect via shared values
Start by reviewing our Personal Why training resource to help you articulate your "why." Use it to connect with your friend or family member about why you believe voting is important, and why they should, too. What issues are having the most impact on their life, and how could that issue be impacted by who is in political office (or by a proposition or ballot measure)?
❤️ Be genuine
These are your friends and family members who you’re talking to. They know when you’re being real. No one wants to hear the laundry list of candidate talking points from you; that’s what the candidate is for! For your friends or family, the most convincing advocate is going to be someone they know and trust—you. Be kind, genuine, and listen to what they have to say.
#️⃣ Emphasize their impact
Acknowledge that it can be hard to see the impact of one vote amid tens of millions of ballots. But, their vote can tip the balance. The last presidential election was decided by around 100,000 votes—fewer people than would fill a football stadium.
You can also remind them that politicians respond to the communities that show up consistently, so if they're not voting, they're not going to have a voice. Plus, their vote isn't just about the presidential election, either. Their state and local leaders have a huge impact on their everyday lives, and each vote has an even bigger impact.
🔭 Put it in perspective
For someone who says they're not voting because they don't like the candidates, here's a line we like: Voting isn’t marriage, it’s public transport. You’re not waiting for “the one” who’s absolutely perfect: you’re getting the bus. If there isn’t one to your destination, you don’t not travel—you take the one going closest to where you want to be.
💪 Make it a habit
Voting, advocacy, and activism are life-long practices. While it’s important to have specific voting-plan conversations, tap into the strong relationships you have to keep the conversation going year-round. Make it a personal goal that by the time the next election rolls around, the friend or family member you’re coaxing to the polls this year will be the one coaxing their own networks.