For this fiercely contested election, the California secretary of state has officially partnered with Drag Out the Vote to ‘work’ the polls and lay the foundation for a big turnout.
One of the rare, uplifting squares to appear on your otherwise apocalyptic 2020 bingo card could be drag queens running your November 3 election polling place. A nonprofit advocacy effort called Drag Out the Vote is recruiting drag queens, kings, and other royalty to register voters and increase LGBTQ voter turnout. Rock M. Sakura’s Rupaul’s Drag Race Season 12 co-contestant Brita Filter is serving as national co-chair of their 2020 efforts (Rock the vote, indeed), and now KQED reports that the California secretary of state is officially partnering with Drag Out the Vote, and that drag stars will work polling places and serve as election observers.
Do not dispute the realness of Drag the Out the Vote. The organization is actively operating in all 50 states, and is now working on an official and sanctioned basis with California secretary of state Alex Padilla, rumored as a possible Kamala Harris replacement should her Senate seat open if she wins the vice presidency.
“Every eligible voter should have the ability to cast a ballot free of barriers, and the LGBTQ+ community is no different,” secretary of state Padilla said in a release. “Through the Drag Ambassador program, drag queens and kings will serve as election observers, poll workers, and advocates for election accessibility. We are proud to be the first Secretary of State in the nation to formalize this partnership.”
The program is more than ‘drag queens running your polling places’ (though that alone is pretty hot!), but instead a broader voter mobilization effort and reachout to untapped or disenfranchised LGBTQ voters. They’re more interested in recruiting drag ambassadors of any gender to help with voter registration, mail-in ballot help, and answering general voting questions. Drag Out the Vote estimates that "1 in 5 LGBTQ+ people is not registered to vote."
And you can be one of these drag ambassadors, if you think your drag game is strong enough. The drag ambassador application is available online, and you’ve got until September 15 to fill it out. They’ll clearly want you to run a donation page in addition to other efforts. And what those efforts are still seems uncertain, given that the Drag Out the Vote merchandise page is the most robust part of the website. Frankly, their 2020 effort still seems to be applying its foundation, but that’s consistent with the late start to all things Election Day-related this year, thanks to the many myriad horrors that have been the year of our lord 2020.
Of course, you can see it coming now that drag queens at polling places will be used as a culture war rationale for Trump disputing the election results. The mere existence of a gay community is enough to make many right-wingers’ blood boil, then you throw in glitter, fright wigs, latex boobs, and cheaters, and you’ll have a wingnut storyline that such costumery is a confirmation of election fraud. So let’s be honest, California, we are going to get politically attacked for this. But with Trump threatening to use sheriffs and law enforcement as poll observers, the idea of drag queen-versus-police standoffs at polling places will create some glorious imagery.
Related: This Is Giving Me Life Today: Drag Queens and Musical Theater Artists Performing From Their Living Rooms [SFist]