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Jasmine Goldband / The Incline

Seven tips for getting through the next two days in our swing state

You can’t escape it.

Even today, on the last day, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is at Pitt after her yinzer-centric Heinz Field rally Friday, and Republican candidate Donald Trump was in Moon on Sunday night, even if he was a few hours late.

And social media is adding to all of it. Especially during this election, Facebook is full of divisiveness and stress, said Rachel Furman, an assistant professor of communications at Carlow University, whose expertise includes persuasion, anxiety and public speaking and social media.

Even people who are quiet and non-confrontational in person feel like they have a voice on social media and are saying things they might not have said before in a public place, Furman said. And that means many people are learning the views of family and friends that they might not have known otherwise.

In short: It’s been a stressful election season. But it’s almost over.

Here are ways for you to pass the time —and stay calm — through Tuesday night.

Start today

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Begin with the basics: know your polling place and take a look at a sample ballot if you haven’t already. In addition to choosing candidates, there’s one yes or no question on the ballot about whether Pennsylvania should change the mandatory retirement age for judges to 75 from 70.

Furman also advised taking some time acknowledge your fears and separate the points grounded in reality from distorted thinking. She said to analyze those fears and ask yourself: What is really likely to happen?

“In reality, nothing is really going to change on Wednesday or Thursday or Friday,” she said.

If praying helps, Bishop David Zubik asked for churches in the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh to be open all day today for people to pray for the country and the election.

Vote.

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Justgrimes / Flickr

Enough said.

Show your civic pride with a photo

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Gordon Surratt / FLICKR

Voting is important. But if you vote in Allegheny County on Tuesday, don’t expect to take a selfie with your “I voted” sticker afterwards.

Mark Wolosik, elections division manager for Allegheny County told 90.5 WESA that the county doesn’t hand out the stickers.

“We do not and never have,” he said.

And the county also reminded voters to not take selfies in the polls either, though there is some debate about if that move is unconstitutional:

The Allegheny County Elections Division reminds all voters, election board workers and poll watchers that all forms of recording, photographic, video and audio, including “selfies” are prohibited within polling places.

Photography and recording from outside of a polling place into the polling place is permitted as long as ballots are not displayed and entrance into a polling place is not hampered.

So if you still want to document your civic pride after voting, why not find the biggest American flag you can and take a photo or selfie?

Or you can pose with those political yard signs that are everywhere. They’ll soon be all gone. 

Stress. Eat.

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Courtesy Redhawk Coffee

Waiting for the results will be stressful. But once you’ve voted, take advantage of some of the food specials going on for Election Day:

  • There will be a photo booth and free food trucks, including Redhawk Coffee at Pitt’s Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall in North Oakland, thanks to NextGen Climate Pennsylvania.
  • Marian Hall Home in Ross Township is having a bake sale, as well as offering lunch and dinner options.
  • Bill’s Bar & Burger, Downtown, is offering free milkshakes, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.
  • Adda Coffee & Tea House in Shadyside is offering free coffee, as well as food trucks and a performance by local musican Kyle Uricchio.

Take care of your body

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Make time for your health on Election Day with two other offers that keep you well.

  • Una Biologicals in Central Lawrenceville is giving away a free lip balm of your choice.
  • Sansone Chiropractic in Plum is offering a complimentary adjustment on Election Day.

P.S. Now is also a good time to point out that in the offers above (as well as some of the food offers) say “with your voter stub” or “with your I voted sticker.” However, that’s illegal under federal law because there are federal candidates on the ballot:

Whoever makes or offers to make an expenditure to any person, either to vote or withhold his vote, or to vote for or against any candidate; and whoever solicits, accepts, or receives any such expenditure in consideration of his vote or the withholding of his vote—shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.

(Don’t look to the county to enforce this. Since it’s a federal law, it’s enforced by the Department of Justice.)

Disconnect and hang with friends

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Now is the time to unplug from social media and news, Furman advised. It can be really difficult, so she suggested turning off your phone’s data so you can get calls and texts, but not scroll through social media.

Another tip from Karen Hacker, director of the Allegheny County Health Department, is to watch coverage in small doses. She said it’s OK to check in when the polls close, but then cut yourself off and check back later when the results are in.

Try to avoid the chatter in between, she said.

Both Furman and Hacker recommended not being alone on election night.

Just this one time, it’s OK to limit your time with people who don’t share your views, Furman said, adding it will help decrease stress. And Hacker said that if you watch the results with other people, you can debrief and also talk about other things, too.

Party with The Incline

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The Incline / Facebook

When the polls close and the results start rolling in, why not head to a results watch party? (See above.)

We’ve made you a list of election night watch parties, including The Incline’s party at The Foundry Tap and Table on the North Shore.

Come for cable news, Cards Against Humanity’s 2016 Election Game and drink specials including The Pant Suit and The Bigly.

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