Joy to the Polls: the group performing for Americans as they line up to vote

As hundreds of people queued to vote early in Philadelphia this weekend, a group of performers had a special tactic to keep people’s spirits up.

A collective of artists and activists have being performing on line while people wait to cast their ballots, hoping to bring a little joy to an election season which looks to be rife with voter suppression, intimidation tactics and long waiting times. …

The non-partisan group Joy to the Polls pointed out that in a year when a global pandemic and rising racial tensions may put people off voting, it’s more important than ever to encourage people to come out to vote.

“We have rampant voter suppression in the US,” says Nelini Stamp, an organizer and performer for Joy to the Polls. “We wanted to figure out a way so while people are outside of the polling station, we can bring them a feeling of safety and a feeling of joy,” she said. …

Joy to the Polls has also partnered with the Election Defenders to train people in de-escalation tactics, so that voters feel safe from any intimidation. Dancing is just one way of doing that: “Music serves as a great de-escalator because it sets the tone,” explains Stamp. “It was super beautiful! There were even some poll workers who came out with us when their shifts were done to get down on with us.”

By Poppy Noor, The Guardian

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