Cover Story: Cool Elections

In an hour or less, you can influence history

Sep 13, 2006 at 2:06 pm
Graham Lienhart

Katy Heins (left) gets involved by circulating petitions to place a minimum wage hike on the Ohio ballot this fall.

Vote. Put up a yard sign. Make your own yard sign. Stand at a busy intersection with a political sign.

Attend a candidate's rally and applaud loudly. Attend a candidate's rally and boo loudly.

Distribute literature for your favorite candidate. Make your own literature and share it with people you know.

Pass out political literature at the mall — until the security guard makes you stop. Ask him what this has to do with freedom of speech.

Watch a debate on TV. Before the debate, call the panelists' offices and give a list of questions you'd like them to ask.

Invite 10 neighbors over. Take five minutes each to talk about the election.

Circulate a petition calling for the change you would most like to see. Send it to the proper authorities. Better yet, deliver it in person and wait for an answer.

If you insist on using your cell phone while you drive, call public officials and tell them what's on your mind.

Spend 39 cents on a stamp. Put it on an envelope containing a letter telling a candidate what you want from her.

Make a public records request. Go to your school board or police department and ask for a list of all salaries. That always shakes them up.

Honk your horn when you pass protesters. This works whether you agree or disagree.

At every opportunity, ask questions of people in authority.

Don't have sex with people who don't vote. Together we can purify the gene pool.

Listen to a talk radio host you detest. Call and set him straight.

Read a column or editorial from the other side.

Volunteer for a phone bank for a cause you believe in. All it takes is dialing and talking.

Call the campaign office for a candidate you oppose. Engage the staff in discussion. Make it a long conversation. You might not change their mind, but you'll tie them up so they can't change other people's minds.

At Halloween, put up a ghoulish sign with a picture of the candidate you oppose. Frighten the children for their own good.

Call five relatives and tell them how you're going to vote this year. Urge them to vote the same way.

Comment on blogs. Confront bullshit and prejudice.

Call radio stations and request anti-war songs.

Write short letters to the editor; they're more likely to get published. Send them by e-mail so the editor doesn't have to re-type them. (Editors are lazy.)

Call newspaper and TV reporters and tell them what they're missing.

At PTA meetings, suggest a discussion of how various races will affect the schools.

Call your local high school and ask if they teach students how to register to vote. If not, tell them you'll oppose the next school levy.

Give good tips at restaurants and bars. Tell the waitstaff you hope they'll vote for your candidate.

Make copies of the most important article you read; distribute it to co-workers.

Ask your imam or rabbi or minister to urge people to vote.

When a campaign commercial is on, explain to your child the rhetorical tricks being played.

If you know adults who can't drive, offer them a ride to the polls. Babysit for a single mother while she goes to vote.

Start an alternative football pool. Collect $1 a week from people who want to donate to your candidate.

In casual conversation, remind people that we don't have to take it anymore.

Vote on Nov. 7. ©