October 24, 2020. The voting line in Manhattan went past the polling place on 13th Street before turning around into the final stretch. Photo credit: Eden, Janine and Jim on Flickr.

Stay safe: 20 Tips to ensure your safety on election day

3 mins read

US intelligence agencies warn of threats of possible violence by right wing extremists on election day. Here’s some safety measures to consider.

Answering the question, “How did we get here?” will require lots of non-sober explanation. But we are here, regressing back to the early-to-mid 20th Century where voting was dangerous. In the current contentious election, multiple agencies disseminated warnings that the safety of citizens hangs on the balance. With threats of violence in the coming days, it is best to know how protect yourself as much as possible. These precautionary measures give you some ways to prepare.

1. Prepare a phone bank

It is good to have a list of people who will pick up the phone or text you back immediately. This is your go-to list for the duration of the elections. As well, you can program in your phone a favorite list or go old school, write out a list and place it on your refrigerator.

2. Stock up on food and water

Businesses have already started to board up their stores and close these next days. Now, if civilian arrests occur then assuredly many shops will not open due to safety precautions, so please make sure or try to have food for at least the remainder of the week.

3. Ensure your first aid kit is fully stocked

To prepare for any unforeseen injuries, having a first aid kit is good practice in general. When the

4. Purchase some board games

During these times, children are already exhausted by staying inside. Get them, and even you, away from their digital devices for some low tech fun.

5. Make sure your vehicle is filled with gas

In case of an emergency, make sure you can leave quickly and travel without having to make any gas pit stops.

6. Identify several news sources and social media handles you trust.

As a good measure, it is good to have several channels of information to remain updated.

7. Travel in groups on the day of the election.

If you can, go everywhere with someone to ensure that if anything happens you have a crew that rolls with you. Usually, cowards travel in packs and often prey on those they can outnumber.

8. Carry a charged cell phone

Having a reliable and immediate access to communication is key during this time. Make sure your mobile phone is the least of your worries when out.

9. If you live in an area where you are the voting minority, refrain from wearing campaign clothes.

The objective during this day is to vote in a democracy with some peace and sanity. Unfortunately, there have been too many reports of scuffles for wearing allegiance or support for a candidate that your tee shirt might warrant more than you want.

10. Stay away from groups that look unfamiliar if you are in an area where you are the voting minority.

Like I said, the 1940s, 50s and 60s are starting to look a lot like current times. Move in familiar territory and amongst those who know you.

93 million people were recorded to have cast an early vote. Photo credit: Jon Tyson on Unsplash.

11. Create a contingency plan with neighbors or family members.

Being over prepared is definitely better than not having a plan. Coordinating with community and family gives everyone options on how to respond if an emergency arises. 

12. Vote early.

With reports that lines have been hours-long waits, get out and vote first thing in the morning so that you can have most of the day to run last minute errands before results start rolling out in the evening.

13. Go with two or more people to the polls.

This alludes to an earlier tip, as well. Around the poll sites there are reports of intimidating groups. Take your folk with you, even if they’re not voting, having someone with you is an excellent extra precaution

14. Observe coronavirus protocols at the polls

With the second wave hitting cities across the country, observe all the protocols to avoid as much as you can from being caught up in a super-spreading gathering like voting. Remember to bring hand sanitizer too.

15. Avoid engaging in political spats or arguments.

By this time, you’ve picked your candidates and are clear on ballot measures. Arguments are a mute point, and if they go awry you can get more than a heated debate.

16. Once you vote, go home.

You should have your house stocked and your watch party is good to go. This election is already stressful. Find your zen in your sanctuary.

17. Be in by dark.

Protests and violent political agitation usually upticks at night, so be in the house before this can possibly happen.

18. If you work that day, do regular check ups with a family member or friend; especially when you go home.

Regularly update people close to you so that they know where you are and what’s going on around you. 

19. If you are taking public transportation, put an app on your phone that tells you exactly when it arrives.

Often public transportation is late, so get an app that lets you know exactly when transportation will arrive to avoid long waits at a bus stop or train stop.

20. Be positive and serious about your safety.

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