5 cool ways people are making sure everyone has their voice heard this Election Day.

Rock the Vote! ... Get out the Vote! ... Vote or Die.

By now, you probably feel like you've heard every catchy slogan there is about how important it is to make your voice heard on Election Day.

Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images.


And for many of us, we have a plan. Voting is a relatively simple endeavor.

Finagle an hour or two away from the office, drive to our local polling place, grab a patriotic sticker on the way out, and boom, we're done.

But for others, getting to the polls isn't quite so simple.

That's why there's a ton of amazing work being done behind the scenes, all over the country, to make sure everyone's voice gets heard in one of the most critical elections our country has ever faced.

Here are some of my favorite stories of people who are helping other people get to the polls this year.

With this election, even small plans could make a big difference.

1. In North Carolina, one organization is making sure LGBTQ voters don't get left behind.

Photo by David Silverman/Getty Images.

Jasmine Beach-Ferrara works with an organization called the Campaign for Southern Equality out of North Carolina. Election season is a huge, important challenge for them.

"LGBTQ people live in every town across the South. About one-third of LGBTQ people live in the South," she said. "Yet we're incredibly underrepresented in every level of government."

This year, her organization partnered with a queer- and trans-friendly health center for low-income folks in Asheville, where free shuttles have been taking about a dozen people a day to early voting locations.

That may not sound like a lot, but for a group that so desperately needs to be heard, every voice counts.

2. In a nearby town, both political parties are offering to drive anyone to the polls, regardless of party affiliation.

There's been a lot of talk this year about rigged elections and media bias, but at least in one part of the country, some people still remember what democracy is all about: Everyone gets an equal say about what's best for our nation.

Both the local Democratic and Republican parties in Buncombe County, North Carolina, have gotten in on the action of offering rides to the polls for anyone who asks.

"We've taken Democrats. We've taken Republicans. We'll take anyone who asks," said Nathan West, the county Republican Party chair. "We just want to make sure everyone has the opportunity."

3. In Pennsylvania, one school has a cool idea for getting college students to the polls.

Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, had a fleet of shuttles ready to take students to the closest polling place. The only problem was, there wasn't anyone to drive them all.

So a bunch of professors volunteered.

Jacqueline Joyce, a sophomore, said she'll be using the professor-driven service to get to the polls on Nov. 8. Her parents could have picked her up and driven her to the polling place near her home, about 25 miles away, but she said other students might not have had that option.

Photo by Jacqueline Joyce, used with permission.

"This mobilizes students to actually go vote because there's someone driving them around. Unless you're really politically engaged, I don't know how bothered people would be to walk," she said. "Walking and driving are totally different things."

As far as she's concerned, any barrier that can be removed, no matter how small, is a good thing for voter turnout.

4. In Corpus Christi, Texas, Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Asheville, North Carolina, local governments are waiving bus fares on Election Day to encourage voters to show up.

Photo by Daniel Barry/Getty Images.

5. In many jails around the country, voting officials are stopping by to help non-felon inmates be a part of the democratic process.

Photo by Ian Waldie/Getty Images.

And the stories don't stop there either.

We've heard it a million times, but it's worth saying again: This election matters. The stakes are high. We need to come together as a country and make the right decision for the future of our world as we know it.

The fate of the nation can't only be left to the people who have cars and can afford to take a half-day off of work, so bravo to all the people fighting hard to make sure each one of us has a way to get to the polls.

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Anne Hebert, a marketing writer living in Austin, TX, jokes that her closest friends think that her hobby is "low-key harassment for social good". She authors a website devoted entirely to People Doing Good Things. She's hosted a yearly canned food drive with up to 150 people stopping by to donate, resulting in hundreds of pounds of donations to take to the food bank for the past decade.

"I try to share info in a positive way that gives people hope and makes them aware of solutions or things they can do to try to make the world a little better," she said.

For now, she's encouraging people through a barrage of persistent, informative, and entertaining emails with one goal in mind: getting people to VOTE. The thing about emailing people and talking about politics, according to Hebert, is to catch their attention—which is how lice got involved.

"When my kids were in elementary school, I was class parent for a year, which meant I had to send the emails to the other parents. As I've learned over the years, a good intro will trick your audience into reading the rest of the email. In fact, another parent told me that my emails always stood out, especially the one that started: 'We need volunteers for the Valentine's Party...oh, and LICE.'"

Hebert isn't working with a specific organization. She is simply trying to motivate others to find ways to plug in to help get out the vote.

Photo by Phillip Goldsberry on Unsplash

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With the election quickly approaching, the importance of voting and sending in your ballot on time is essential. But there is another way you can vote everyday - by being intentional with each dollar you spend. Support companies and products that uphold your values and help create a more sustainable world. An easy move is swapping out everyday items that are often thrown away after one use or improperly disposed of.

Package Free Shop has created products to help fight climate change one cotton swab at a time! Founded by Lauren Singer, otherwise known as, "the girl with the jar" (she initially went viral for fitting 8 years of all of the waste she's created in one mason jar). Package Free is an ecosystem of brands on a mission to make the world less trashy.

Here are eight of our favorite everyday swaps:

1. Friendsheep Dryer Balls - Replace traditional dryer sheets with these dryer balls that are made without chemicals and conserve energy. Not only do these also reduce dry time by 20% but they're so cute and come in an assortment of patterns!

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2. Last Swab - Replacement for single use plastic cotton swabs. Nearly 25.5 billion single use swabs are produced and discarded every year in the U.S., but not this one. It lasts up to 1,000 uses as it's able to be cleaned with soap and water. It also comes in a biodegradable, corn based case so you can use it on the go!

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