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Opinion: The Progressive's Guide to Do More than Vote

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It's hard to believe it was only a month ago that Samuel L. Jackson needed to remind Obama supporters to "Wake the Eff Up!" Obama and Biden's post-convention bounce had given them their largest lead in months; Romney and Ryan's convention was a flop; and many Democrats were thinking more about Halloween costumes that get-out-the-vote (GOTV) plans.

Then the first debate gave Republicans a boost, and - as often happens in a campaign's endgame - the race tightened. While the race is close, Romney isn't surging and yet media stories about his "momentum" make progressives nervous. Even the negative news cycles of Donald Trump and Richard Mourdock are only so much comfort for those fearful of Tea Party triumphs.

Progressives now remember their vote will matter (a recent Obama video hit home the point about every vote counting), and the president's campaign has been pushing early voting as a way to avoid lines and technical malfunctions -- with the candidate himself becoming the first president to cast a vote early. And for liberals who want to send a message of frustration with the administration, early votes are being cast for Jill Stein, Rocky Anderson and other presidential candidates as well.

Voting is one step - and not the only step. If you want to influence this election, of course you should cast a ballot - but whether you have 5 minutes, 5 days, 5 dollars or every hour between now and November 6th, you can Do More Than Vote.

(NB: Over the past four presidential and midterm elections, I have been part of an initiative called "Do More Than Vote," a directory to find opportunities that meet your interests and availability that has not been associated with any party, candidate or organization.)

If you have five minutes…

- You can commit to voting and confirm information on where, when and how to cast your ballot

- You can find the most compelling political videos on the web - arranged by issue, district and candidate - and share the strongest with your friends

- You can show your support on progressive causes other than election through effective, online actions

If you have 30 minutes…

- Sign up for a "Friends and Neighbors" program that will help you connect to people in your own network about the election

- Create your own ballot to share your preferences with friends, and learn more about candidates up-and-down the ticket ()

- Take advantage of a free online training on getting out the vote and other campaign skills

If you have an hour...

- The Obama campaign makes it easy to call swing voters from your own home on your own schedule

- Not interested in the presidential race? Call out the vote for critical Senate and Congressional races with the Progressive Campaign Change Committee 

- If you want to dig in on more progressive candidates, you can dial voters tin key districts with Democracy for America

If you have an afternoon, a day, or more…

- Find a local phonebank, canvass or action organized by MoveOn volunteers near you

- Sign up to join Workers Voice GOTV efforts

- Want to work directly with the presidential field team? See where Obama For America would send you

If you want to protect the vote...

- Help election protection efforts - whether you have legal experience or not

If you have a few dollars:

- Support progressive candidates

- Join the fight to take down the Tea Party Ten

If you're not living in Ohio, you might feel your vote isn't valued as much. But wherever you are and however much time you have, you can do more than vote.

Plus, while everyone only gets one vote, you can do more with your vote. In safe states, look into minor party candidates: the Green Party and Justice Party are willing to take stances the Democrats are too timid to embrace. In states with fusion voting, learn about progressive third parties such as the Working Families Party of New York. Then your vote won't only be supporting candidates, but supporting changes in our larger political system.