On Election Day, when the polls get long, there are organizations that spring into action, delivering snacks, drinks and other food to areas where voters may grow tired of the long wait it takes to cast their votes. For these groups, it’s about more than delivering delicious pizza to voters: that pepperoni pie is a way to encourage those who go to the polls to stay on track and make their voices heard.
“When it comes to voting, the most important thing is to lead the way,” said Amirah Noaman, executive director of Pizza to the Polls, a non-partisan nonprofit founded in 2016. prevents people from giving up their right to vote.”
Noaman tells Yahoo Life that Pizza to the Polls, which delivers pizza to areas where long polls are reported through their website, has a simple mission: to deliver pizza across the country…to make voting a little more fun. “We know that voting is addictive,” Noaman said, “so a good poll experience is crucial to ensure future participation.”
A simple bottle of water or a snack can keep people from giving up their voting rights.”Amirah Noaman, Pizza to the polls
With Election Day just around the corner and early voting well underway in most areas in the US, the top priority for many is making time to wait in potentially long lines — especially those juggling responsibilities like work schedules, parenting duties. and other obligations.
As citizens take the time to exercise one of the most essential rights they possess, simple food and drink can make all the difference. In fact, the idea of serving food at polling stations is a tradition dating back hundreds of years.
“Food and drink have been integral to the voting process for centuries,” says Clara Sutton, who has volunteered at polling stations for more than a decade. “For example, in medieval England voters were given bread and ale to ensure they were well fed and happy when they cast their vote.”
Years later, as America began to take shape, food and drink were introduced in the US as a campaign tactic to encourage those who came to the polls to support the seventh president of the United States, Andrew Jackson, who took office in 1829.
“Politicians realized they could influence voters by feeding them food,” said Inez Stanway, a former elementary school teacher who spent her career teaching students about the electoral process and its rich history. “This tactic was first used in the 1828 presidential election when Jackson’s supporters gave voters free whiskey and cider.”
Hundreds of years after Jackson’s presidential campaign, the tradition is still very much alive. “In a way, this tradition is a throwback to the early days of American democracy,” Sutton says.[back] when voting was a community event and people gathered to eat while exercising their right to vote.”
In the hectic pace of the 21st century, a simple snack can make all the difference when it comes to ensuring voters stay in line until their vote is cast. “Long voting lines can be daunting for many,” said Noaman, explaining that organizations like Pizza to the Polls and others work to change the tone at polling stations, not influence election results.
According to a spokesperson for Vote.org, long lines can be a huge hurdle for people when they want to free up time to vote. In some states, voters have fewer methods of voting and must vote in person on Election Day, leading to a longer wait. Long lines can add to voter stress on election day, and when polling stations occasionally shorten polling hours on election day, voters struggle to fit voting into work or school commitments. The spokesperson explains that these kinds of obstacles affect some citizens more than others and can be seen as a form of voter suppression.
“Pulse closures are disproportionately common in communities of color,” they tell Yahoo Life. “Color voters wait in line much longer on average than white voters.”
Andrea Hailey, chief executive officer of Vote.org, tells Yahoo Life that the organization, “striving to make voting more enjoyable for all voters, and providing food and drink to people who have to wait in long voting lines is a natural extension of the vote.” that work.”
“Importantly, it’s also a humane thing to do,” Hailey added of the Vote.org food trucks frequenting some polling stations. “Ideally, voters should be able to vote in 30 minutes or less, but until that day comes, Vote.org will be here to serve food and drink to anyone who wants to be engaged and active members of their community… food trucks will do it.” problem of long queues, but Vote.org hopes it will make voting safer and more comfortable for thousands of voters across the country.”
This year, Vote.org food trucks will serve communities in Arizona, Michigan, Nevada and Wisconsin. Through research, Vote.org identified locations in these states with disproportionately longer queues, added laws that made voting more difficult and time-consuming, or both.
But in some states, handing out food at polling stations is considered a no-no, regardless of the intent behind the gesture.
“We are aware that Georgia has passed laws that prohibit third-party suppliers from distributing food and drink at polling stations,” Noaman told Yahoo Life. “Laws like these are troubling because we believe everyone at polling stations should have safe and legal access to food and water.”
But proponents like Pizza To The Polls won’t let oppressive laws stop them from achieving their goals. “This Election Cycle, Pizza to the Polls [took] a non-traditional approach to insure Georgians [were] well-nourished leading into the election by partnering with nonprofits like New Georgia Project and The People’s Uprising to turn voter registration and education events into pizza parties,” says Noaman.
And their efforts to spread cheap goodness won’t end there. On Election Day, Pizza to the Polls will host events and deliver pizza in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area. Noaman says the group’s goal for 2022 is simple: “To keep democracy alive — and glorious.”
Wellness, parenting, body image and more: meet the Who behind the how so with the Yahoo Life newsletter. Register here.