Voting messages on South Street

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It’s already bound to be an Election Day unlike any other, for about a million reasons.

One of the differences: we’re not going to know the final results on the night of Nov. 3 — or, likely, by the end of the week (or later).

To be clear, votes are almost never fully counted on election night anyway, but in past years there’s usually been enough of an idea of trends that pundits make calls on winners, or certain candidates concede. This is very unlikely to happen in 2020.

More than 300,000 Philadelphians have already returned their mail-in ballots to the City Commissioners, but officials can’t start counting them until 7 a.m. on Election Day. It’s gonna take awhile — the machines that will open up the envelopes can only process 12,000 ballots per hour.

And some Pennsylvania counties will move even more slowly. At least seven counties, like Cumberland, Butler and Mercer, are waiting until Wednesday to start processing mail ballots — saying they need Tuesday to focus on in-person voting.

Considering that one-third of Pennsylvania’s total ballots have been cast by mail, it’s likely to be a slow process. That’s true nationwide. Some states expect they won’t have complete results for weeks.

So while you wait to find out who your next president is, you’re gonna have to kill some time.

Here are some activities to hold you over.

Eat like it’s Election Day

In normal times, you could expect to see all the city’s Democratic leadership and hopefuls gathered at Relish on Election Day. That’s thanks to a long-time friendship between U.S. Rep. Dwight Evans and the restaurant’s proprietors, Ben and Robert Bynum.

The North Philly restaurants now open for indoor and outdoor dining and take-out if you wanna get the full experience of Philly Election Day cuisine.

You can also hit up Famous 4th Street in Queen Village, another spot where party leaders meet up, dating back to the ’70s.

Drink too… like I said, it’s gonna be awhile

Bars still aren’t open in Philly. But in times like these, you’re going to need some liquid courage to brave the long wait time for presidential election results. Here’s our long list of Philadelphia bars and restaurants that are selling to-go cocktails.

Stream a Philly show/movie

You’ve got plenty of time to dive into a movie… or a new series, depending on your commitment to the binge. A few suggestions:

  • Queer Eye’s Philly season, streaming on Netflix (and you can play our drinking game)
  • Charm City Kings, a documentary about Baltimore dirt bike culture — stay with me — that features Meek Mill. That’s available on HBO Max.
  • Neighbors in the Crossfire, a WHYY documentary on Philly’s gun violence epidemic

Or some new Philly music

Philly native Tierra Whack just dropped a new track on Friday. “Dora” is her first new single in over a year, and it comes with a super fun video. It’s a good way to distract from everything election related.

Plan your winter indoor quarantine hobby

Hate to say it, but new coronavirus cases are back on the rise in Philadelphia and across the country. At last week’s press briefing, Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley offered a gloomy outlook on the winter season — suggesting cases will continue to rise, and you should already consider canceling your holiday plans.

Now’s the time to be proactive and set up something fun to do within your own four walls. Pick up a new hobby, craft or exercise regimen to pass the time.

Give some of your money away

Probably no better way to assuage anxieties about the future than to contribute some cash to a good cause. There’s no shortage of recipients for charitable giving in Philadelphia. Here are a few ideas:

Get some reading material from a Philly bookstore

You need something to do and Philly’s independent bookstores need your financial support even more than usual. Grab some reading material to bide the time — either in-person or ordered online — from any of these local shops:

Look at some Philly street art

Some of you probably don’t feel safe enough to visit an indoor museum. Luckily Philly’s vibrant street art community has posted plenty of art outdoors fit for gazing. Check out the Mural Arts website, which offers a few options for self-guided street art tours.

Michaela Winberg is a general assignment reporter at Billy Penn. She covers LGBTQ people and culture, public spaces, and transportation and mobility. She also sometimes produces radio and web features...