I voted. I’m anxious. What can I do now?

Here’s some help

Congratulations. You planned, you voted, and if you’re lucky enough to live in Austin, Texas, you can get free stuff. But maybe you thought that the churning in your stomach would be gone after your ballot was out of your hands, and it isn’t. There are still some things you can do to reduce your stress level for the next few days, and some of them are as powerful as the vote you just cast.


I don’t know the status of my vote.

Track your ballot. You can track your vote in nearly every state, even if you voted in person. Check it after about 24 hours if you dropped your ballot off at an election office or drop box. You’ve probably heard about mail delays, but so far there don’t appear to be any reports of significant problems. In fact, this suppression tactic of delaying the mail was so widely reported that voters might just be voting earlier or in person, just to ensure that their votes are counted. Voting early also gave your ballot a clear shot to tabulation, because it avoided any signature-based shenanigans that might come up in important precincts. Give your ballot a week or so if you dropped it into a mailbox. If it isn't received soon, call your county office and ask about it. The people who work there are nice, even when they're busy. 


If it’s been received, keep watching every day. At some point, the site will probably tell you it’s been accepted…or discarded because it didn’t comply with your state’s rules. If it’s rejected, you know what to do. Go vote in person, preferably early. Worst case, you’ll be given a provisional ballot, which simply means that your vote will count once and only once. Then track your vote until it’s accepted. In some states, they can let you know it’s already been counted. That will allay some of your apprehension.


Yay, my ballot was accepted. Now what?

Corral your social circle. Time to make sure everyone around you is finished voting. Reach out to your parents, your friends, your aunts and uncles, and that barista in the coffee place where you order your brew. Ask them to track their own votes, or offer to track the ballot for them. It’s likely that your family includes lots of people who haven’t mastered their electronics. Lots of people who stare at their phones all day don’t know they can use them to track their vote. Offer to help them out. You might find that your Aunt Susan in the Philly suburbs loves Joe Biden, and in her zeal to vote, she forgot to use Pennsylvania’s secrecy sleeve. When she learns about her mistake, Aunt Susan can go to an early voting location and try again to get it right.


For most ballot tracking, you only need to know the county, the voter’s name, and the birth date. This means that you could track your grandma’s ballot without needing to exchange microbes with her. Just find her birthday on Facebook (it’s your grandma, so you’d better know the year) and check out where her ballot stands. It’s about time Facebook gave you useful and personal information about someone rather than the other way around.


I’ve checked on everyone I could. Can I do more?

You can reach out. If you’re young, healthy, and inclined, you could help out by being a poll worker. You might join a text-banking team (they’re fun, and you don’t have to wear even Zoom-level clothes after your training session.) If you're a lawyer, you can help out, too. If not, Swingleft can help you find volunteer opportunities. You don’t have to spend money, and you don’t have to leave home to help. Volunteering feels good. It'll help the next few weeks go from interminable to interpersonal.


We need a landslide. We need a mandate. We need some sleep. Each of us gets only one vote, but we can leverage our "I voted" status to help others achieve "I voted" closure. You can help push this over the November 3rd finish line, and make sure Donald Trump is over by November 4th.