The United States' first presidential election took place in 1789. The winner, without much of a challenge, was George Washington. Today, elections have become much more complicated. From hanging chads to corrupt campaign finance, it's easy to lose track of the importance of the election itself. Learn the inner workings of the electoral system and help make history by volunteering on Election Day.
- Skill level:
Join the campaign trail. Candidates need hundreds if not thousands of volunteers to get their name, cause and slogans to the voters. Call the office of a candidate or organization with votes at stake. Ask how you can help. They may have you stake signs around town, watch the polls for suspicious tactics or put up decorations for their post-election celebration.
Become a poll worker. Unlike other Election Day opportunities, you get paid for being a poll worker. Sign up with your county election office, get trained and be prepared for a long, but fulfilling Election Day. Responsibilities vary from county to county. Expect to help voters sign in, work with the voting machinery and keep things organized at the polls. Find opportunities by looking up your local area at Project Vote Smart's website, or by calling the United States Election Assistance Commission at (866) 747-1471.
Take your own initiative. If no volunteer opportunities are to be had in your area, create your own. Go door to door and remind people to vote. Take lemonade and cookies to those waiting in line at the polls. Help those in retirement homes by driving them to the polls. The sky's the limit.
Tips and warnings
- Be careful when volunteering services or goods to candidates up for election. There are regulated monetary limits to some campaign contributions.
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