Pizza to the Polls delivers free pizza for voters waiting in long lines

If you’re hungry for democracy, hungry to get your ballots in, that might mean standing in long lines outside polling locations this Election Day, which in turn might mean your stomach’s hungry too. 

That’s where the group Pizza to the Polls comes in to help. The non-profit, not-partisan initiative seeks to bring free food to Americans who are waiting in lines to vote. The group takes reports of where there are long lines and then finds local pizza places to deliver some sustenance not just to hungry voters but poll workers as well. 

Pizza to the Polls seeks to bring free food to Americans who are waiting in long lines to vote. (Pizza to the Polls)

Here is how it works: Voters are invited to tweet @pizzatothepolls to report a line. A volunteer then verifies the report and contacts a local restaurant to deliver the pies. “Pizza to the Polls is here to deliver the one thing that pairs perfectly with freedom: piping hot ’za.” the group said on its website. Pizzas usually take about 90 minutes to be delivered after an order is placed.

The initiative first came about the weekend before the 2016 election, where long lines were reported at early voting locations across the country.

Within hours, co-founders Scott Duncombe, Noah Manger, and Katie Harlow launched the initiative with this goal: “Give pizza to the people. And give people watching at home a way to help.” That first year, they raised more than $43,000 from more than 1,700 donors and distributed more than 25,000 slices of pizza.

“The feedback was immediate and immense: it fortified hungry voters in line, cheered up beleaguered poll workers, and gave people a way to help out their communities,” the group said.

Four years later, the initiative has greatly expanded. Not only has the group been delivering pizzas to polling locations across the country, but it's also been sending food trucks doling out snacks to voting lines in 25 cities. At this point, Los Angeles is the only city being served in California as part of the food truck program.

Pizza to the Polls seeks to bring free food to Americans who are waiting in long lines to vote. (Pizza to the Polls)

More than a dozen new partners have also joined in the Pizza to the Polls' efforts. They include Planet Fitness, KIND, Wetzel’s Pretzels, Shake Shack, San Francisco-based Uber Eats, and San Francisco-based Levi Strauss.

"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.

Pizza to the Polls said that special care is being taken amid the pandemic to ensure people's safety. Delivery drivers are required to follow special instructions and must wear gloves and other protective gear. Pizza to the Polls volunteers at polling locations must also follow health guidelines to make sure the food is distributed safely. 

The group also noted that with an election in the middle of a pandemic, health restrictions are limiting the number of polling places open, social distancing measures are extending lines, and a lot of people will have to wait their turn to cast their ballots.

“Long lines means empty stomachs, and stress for everyone at or around a polling location,” the group said. “Pizza to the Polls wants to ensure that long lines are not a deterrent for people who want to exercise their civic duty. Hunger is the last reason why someone should leave a line on Election Day.”

To help feed voters in line, you can donate here. If you find yourself stuck in a long line or see one in your community, you can report it here