The midterm elections are in full swing...perhaps you’ve heard? Election day is Tuesday, November 6th and it’s time to inspire our coworkers, friends, and family members to get to the polls! After all, the results of this year’s midterms will shape the American political landscape as we know it, so making our voices heard—by voting—is crucial.
And, as many research-backed initiatives have shown, talking to people about candidates and voting is one of the most effective ways to actually get people to the ballot box. No, this doesn’t mean you should bully or shame your friends and others in the coworking space, but it does mean that a light dose of social pressure (“Hey, when are you planning to vote this week?”) can make a difference. Here are five ways to inspire those around you to vote:
1) Get informed.
Not having basic info about elections can create a serious participation barrier. After all, if people don’t have a clear sense of who they’re voting for, they’re much less likely to vote. So, get the info you need, and help others get it, too: At Vote411, you can find out which races apply to your precinct and make a sample ballot to take with you into the voting booth. Curbed Austin and The League of Women Voters both have excellent voters guides. Also, the Chronicle has endorsements for Austin and Travis County residents.
2) Block walk.
Walking the walk (literally) has the biggest impact on voter turnout—as hundreds of studies have shown, you just can’t beat face-to-face time and personalized interactions when it comes to convincing people to vote. Check out the Texas Democratic Party, the Texas Republican Party, or grassroots groups in your area for block walk trainings and sign-ups, or organize your own canvassing event in your neighborhood.
3) Vote with a friend.
Make a plan with your friends and fellow coworkers about when and where you’ll be voting, and offer rides to those who may have difficulty getting to the polls. Or, better yet, if your schedule allows for it, organize a group outing on or before Election Day—and hey, if the idea of democracy in action doesn’t get people inspired, post-vote margaritas are always a great tool of persuasion.
4) Change your cover photo or profile pic on social media.
Now’s the time to get vocal on social! Change your profile picture or cover photo on Facebook to an image of the word “VOTE” or something similar, share a photo of your “I Voted” sticker (or use Instagram’s sticker) after you cast your ballot, or write a post with resources, candidate info, and/or your reasons for voting. Make your voice heard, and others will be inspired to do so, as well.
5) Rock your political garb at work.
Clothing is a form of self-expression, so why not use fashion as a form of activism? This week, in the final days leading up to the election, don your t-shirts, buttons, and stickers advertising your candidate(s)-of-choice. Wearing a t-shirt with a slogan or candidate you believe in sends a clear message of solidarity to those who share your values, and a clear message of advocacy to everyone around you. And advocacy, just like laughter (and the flu) is highly contagious.
Justine Harrington is a freelance journalist, essayist, and copywriter for travel and lifestyle brands based in Austin. Her work has appeared in Fodor's, Backpacker, USA Today, the Austin-American Statesman, Austin Monthly, Austin Woman, Misadventures Magazine, and elsewhere.