When more than 1,000 people lined up to vote early at a poll in Cincinnati on Sunday, the line stretched half a mile, and the wait took nearly three hours.
The line showed up on Twitter, and that’s when a group of people thousands of miles away made the call: they ordered pizzas to be delivered to the crowd. When Pizza to the Polls sees verified photos of voters stuck in a line, it pays for food.
One of the organizers had handed out pizzas in lines at polls in the past in person. “We were looking at the lines and realized that we could maybe just do this from afar, that you didn’t have to be there,” says Scott Duncombe, a software engineer and one of the volunteers behind Pizza to the Polls. (There are a few logistical challenges, like explaining to delivery drivers that they aren’t delivering to a specific person, but the process seems to be working.)
Duncombe had previously worked on the Americans Against Billionaires With Tiny Hands PAC, which had a little leftover money. “We were feeling kind of bad, because the joke had kind of gotten old, and we couldn’t think of another TV ad to do,” he says.
Pizza seemed like the right thing to buy. While it can’t solve the underlying problem–lines are longer in many places as a direct result of GOP-instituted cuts to polling places–it can make a painful wait a little more bearable.
“There’s just so much downtime in some cases, and when pizza shows up, people are in a little bit of a better mood,” Duncombe says.
Today, the group hopes to send 500-600 pizzas to long lines, following tips from Twitter and Instagram. It just might persuade some people to stick around when they were considering leaving.