Story at a glance
- Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many Americans are planning to vote using mail-in ballots.
- Still other Americans are preparing for long lines at the polls on Election Day.
- Pizza to the Polls is planning to deliver free food to polling places with long lines.
A record number of Americans have voted early this election season, and almost 20 million out of more than 50 million requested mail-in ballots have been returned, according to the U.S. Elections Project. But many polling places are still expecting long voting lines, especially considering a reported 20 percent cut in polling places compared to 2016.
If you’re deterred by the anticipated wait times, however, Pizza to the Polls has something to tempt you with: free food.
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“We believe a fundamental way to participate in our democracy is taking the time to vote,” says Sonja Hagen-Cole, Senior Director of Partnerships at KIND, which is joining the effort this year, in a release. “As long lines to vote are anticipated across the country, we’re enthusiastic to support the American public with the healthy fuel they need.”
The nonpartisan effort to feed hungry voters and tired poll workers was born during the last presidential election, sending 2,368 pizzas to 128 polling places across 24 states. Two years and $426,622 in donations later, the nonprofit was back for the 2018 elections, sending 10,820 pizzas to 611 polling places across 41 states.
Program Director Amirah Noaman said in a release, “As we’re seeing Americans wait in extraordinarily long lines to vote, it’s clear we all must come together to support citizens as they participate in one of the greatest civic engagement traditions.”
This year, they've already sent 3,883 pizzas to 321 polling places in 31 states and are showing no signs of slowing down after raising $358,025. And, they're branching out, launching a food truck program in partnership with Uber Eats and restaurants in 25 cities and partnering with Levi Strauss & Co, KIND, Nuchas and other organizations. Voters can report long lines on their website or through social media.
"Democracy only works if people vote, so we're doing everything we can to encourage people to make their voices heard in this year's election," said Anna Walker, Vice President of Public Affairs at Levi Strauss &Co, in the release.
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