More on Voting by Mail!
Happy Tuesday All You Fantastic Activists!
We hope you and your families are safe and healthy. Today we have yet more information about voting by mail and some more ideas for what you can do to stay sane during this time of weirdness. You'll find our normal actions and some other activities to help soothe your brain.
CALL TO ACTION
Not a major national CTA today, as the Senate is on recess. So let’s push for something closer to home. Call Mayor Kenney’s office and ask him to find a way to close some city streets to vehicle traffic and open them up to pedestrians so people can get out and walk and still maintain social distancing. The warmer it gets outside the more people will want to be out walking and it will become harder and harder to maintain a safe distance. Call him at 215-686-2181.
NEW VOTE BY MAIL RULES – SOME UPDATES
The new amendments to the voting law that extended the primary date to June 2 also added some modifications to other deadlines and the new vote-by-mail law. Here they are:
1. Voter Registration – The new voter registration deadline is May 18
2. Vote By Mail – First of all, you can sign up here to vote by mail. The applications are accepted through May 26, but don’t wait! Give the boards of elections a break in handling this new law and sign up early so you're not unhappy when you get your ballot at the last minute.
The other key changes for voters are:
– First, your polling place may change as Boards of Election are trying to move some polling places out of nursing homes, etc. and need to find other locations. Stay tuned.
– Importantly, if you sign up for mail-in voting and then change your mind and want to vote at your polling place, now you can do so. The new change (starting with the November 3 election) is that if you bring the ballot with you to the polls you can hand it in and it will be marked as “spoiled.” Then you can use the voting machine to vote. If you don’t bring in the ballot you will need to vote with a provisional ballot. Provisional ballots are always counted in Philadelphia, according to Lisa Deeley, the Chair of the City Commissioners.
– The other change that affects voters directly is that your ballot can’t be challenged because you signed up for an absentee ballot when you should have signed up for a mail-in ballot. It’s a small thing, but some folks were worried that such challenges could be used to nullify peoples’ votes. Now they can’t.
– You can find all the details on the Committee of Seventy website.
Importantly, you can track your ballot status here
so you can see when your application for vote-by-mail has been approved, when it’s been mailed to you, and when it is received back at the election office.
FILL OUT YOUR CENSUS FORM!
I know, one more time with feeling – do it now please, on paper or online. You’ll thank yourself that you accomplished at least one solid thing today.
VIRTUAL MEETING THE CENSUS AND WHAT IT MEANS TO YOU – GET IN THE COUNT
We had to postpone our March meeting because of social distancing. But that doesn’t mean we can’t “meet” virtually! So we’ve set up our next meeting for Wednesday, April 8, 6-8pm. Our speaker will be Pedro Rodriguez, Director, Community Engagement & Partnerships of Philly Counts. He will tell us everything we need to know about the Census. Sign up here and we’ll send you the Zoom invitation so you can participate in the meeting online. Bring your questions too!
This week we hit an exciting milestone. We have written over 10,000 postcards since the beginning of the year! Please take a minute to pat yourself on the back if you’ve helped in any way to achieve this remarkable accomplishment.
Remember that you can write postcards at home! As always, it will relieve your anxiety and you’ll actually do some good in the world. More than 30 of our members are writing cards from their homes and doing a brilliant job. Right now we are writing to voters in North Carolina and Georgia to remind them to double-check their voter registration status. We also wrote to Wisconsin voters to ask them to vote for their Supreme Court candidate Jill Karofsky. And we’re writing to voters in Florida to remind them to sign up for vote by mail. We’ll be adding more options as we go along.
Here’s how it works:
– Step One: Order postcards from the Postal Service at this link. They are 39 cents each, including the stamp, and are the cheapest way to buy cards and stamps.
– Step Two: Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know you want to write cards.
– Step Three: We will send you addresses and a script for you to write the cards. We’ll replenish your supply of addresses as needed.
And you can write postcards from home with other people! We have TWO events below, each with a video call so we can write postcards “together” virtually. It’s a lot of fun, super easy to connect, and a good way to stay in touch.
What: Virtual Cards & Coffee
Where: The comfort of your own home, via video chat
When: TOMORROW, April 1, 6-8 pm (stay for as long as you want)
What: Virtual Cards & Cocktails
Where: The comfort of your own home, via video chat
When: THIS THURSDAY, April 2, 6-8 pm (stay for as long as you want)
MORE IDEAS FOR SPENDING QUALITY INDOOR TIME
Here we go with more fun stuff! Watch some animals frolic, a theater production from London, some national park videos. If you missed our ideas from last week, find them on our Newsletter page on the Indivisible Philadelphia website.
1. Donate to a worthy cause –
If you can, this is a good time to donate to help out people who are really affected by the shutdown of so many businesses and institutions. Here are a few:
Donate to the Philadelphia Fund – The fund is working with our major community organizations to ensure that critical resources remain available for the most vulnerable.
Donate to Philabundance and help people affected by COVID-19.
Help your favorite restaurant staff – Donate to Philly Virtual Tip Jar. This is a spreadsheet where you can search for your favorites and donate directly via PayPal or Venmo.
Save Philly restaurants – Here is a new one, called Save Philly Eats. You can purchase future in-home dining experiences or get discounts on future gift cards at some fantastic restaurants.
Donate Blood with the Red Cross. Blood is now in short supply so if you can, this would be a potentially life-saving gift.
2. Virtual Experiences
ANIMALS, ANIMALS, ANIMALS!! Check these out!
This might be my favorite – the Monterey Bay Aquarium has several animal live cams – jelly fish, sea otters, birds, penguins, sharks – oh my! They’re fantastic.
San Diego Zoo live cams – More animal live cams! Check out the polar bear cam, panda cam (awwww), ape cam, koala cam and more!
And not to be outdone, Australia contributes its Victoria Zoo live cams. You can spy on zebras, giraffes, lions and more.
Take a virtual tour of Yosemite National Park
3. Live (or recorded) Theater –
The Royal National Theater is showing productions of its award-winning performances every week. The live performances start this Thursday at 7pm British time and are also offered for a week on YouTube for free.
First up is James Corden’s Tony-Award winning performance in One Man, Two Guvnors this Thursday. Then Jane Eyre from Thursday, April 9; Twelfth Night from Thursday, April 16; and Treasure Island from Thursday, April 23.