weather icon Mostly Clear
RJ App
Vegas News, Alerts, ePaper

Waiting in a long caucus line is hard; pizza will help

If you find yourself standing in a long line at one of the Democratic caucus sites on Saturday, bear in mind that help — at least help for your stomach — is just a click away.

All-volunteer, nonpartisan organization Pizza to the Polls will send free pizza Saturday to sites where it’s requested.

“Americans are hungry for democracy and are turning out in record numbers to vote,” the organization says on its website — polls.pizza.

“But that means long lines and sometimes empty stomachs, which might discourage these brave patriots from performing their civic duty.” While those with a long wait are the focus of the effort, they’ll give pizza to volunteers, staff, kids — whoever is at the site.

Scott Duncombe, the president and one of the three founders, said the trio started Pizza to the Polls in Portland, Oregon, but the first pizza was delivered to a polling place in Cincinnati after they had seen online reports about early voting in Ohio.

“It started in 2016, when we noticed there was a bunch of lines in Ohio” three days before the general election, Duncombe said in a phone interview. “Some friends and I thought maybe we could just send some pizzas. We ordered online and it worked.”

Duncombe said those initial purchases were funded by money left from a project that was winding down. They started asking for donations, put up a website and got a Twitter account. It was done in just a few hours, made possible no doubt by the fact that all three work in software for Zappier, “an automation company that makes you happier” by helping to automate cloud services, he said.

By Election Day 2016, they had raised $10,000 in donations, outstripping their ability to use them and leading to the recruitment of more than 20 volunteers from England and Australia as well as the United States. By the end of the night, they had raised $43,307, with more than 25,000 slices of pizza eaten. By the 2018 election, the numbers were up to $426,622 raised and 10,820 pizzas sent to more than 600 polling places in 41 states.

“We’re expecting the general election to be pretty wild” this year, Duncombe said, adding that if donations increase at the same rate as they did from 2016 to 2018, a fund of $3 million is a possibility.

Pizza to the Polls is not a charity, so deductions are not tax-deductible, but it is registered as a 501(c)(4) nonprofit.

To report a long wait — or to volunteer or make a donation — visit polls.pizza.

Contact Heidi Knapp Rinella at Hrinella@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0474. Follow @HKRinella on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Senators pursue disaster funding to help Lake Mead

“Disastrous conditions have reshaped Lake Mead National Recreation Area’s one and a half million acres of incredible landscapes and slowly depleted the largest reservoir in the United States,” the senators wrote in a letter to the National Park Service.