Joy to the Polls Rocked Metro Phoenix Ballot Boxes on Election Day

On their final stop of the night, the DJs of Joy to the Polls gave folks waiting in line to vote at Mesa Convention Center a little musical relief.
On their final stop of the night, the DJs of Joy to the Polls gave folks waiting in line to vote at Mesa Convention Center a little musical relief. Jennifer Goldberg

At 6 p.m. on Election Night, the poll workers and people waiting in line to vote at Mesa Convention Center were getting tired.

But if the Joy to the Polls crew were similarly weary, they didn't show it.

Joy to the Polls is a nonpartisan organization that tries to inject a little fun and excitement into the voting process by bringing DJs to polling places in cities around the country. (DJs in Philadelphia and Atlanta also participated this year.)

This is the second time the group has come to town; the first was in 2020 for the presidential election. It's also the second time local organizer Yuliana Monroy has been involved with the event.

Joy to the Polls "was such an impactful event [in 2020], and I’m so happy they were able to bring it back to Maricopa County this year," she says.

The operation consisted of a mobile DJ booth backed by a huge neon VOTE sign, pulled on a trailer by a pickup truck. The crew included Monroy; the host of the event, local personality Elyssa Bustamante, a.k.a. The Funky Latina; DJs J-Me Lee, Tranzo, and Zima Blue; and a number of volunteers.

For the better part of 12 hours, the Joy to the Polls crew set up shop at places like Phoenix Art Museum, Mesa Community College, community centers, and other polling places in Tempe, Phoenix, and Mesa.

Monroy says stops were chosen "based on demographics and population numbers," and based on what they learned from 2020. "We discovered that Tempe, Mesa, and downtown Phoenix have the most diversity, and that’s what we wanted to approach. We want people from all walks of life who are voting to be able to see us and to feel that joy that we’re bringing out to everyone," she says.

The day didn't run fully according to plan; they were asked to leave one spot and skipped another on their schedule due to a time crunch. (The schedule wasn't publicized, though, so no one was left disappointed.)

But overall, Monroy says, Election Day in metro Phoenix was a win for Joy to the Polls.

"Joy to the Polls is literally what it says," she says. "We bring joy to the polls, to the people who are out here voting. We really focus on letting people know and feel with our presence that voting is a right and it should be celebrated. We are here to tackle voter intimidation, so it’s about bringing the energy, the vibes, and bringing the right words and encouragement to all the voters out there.

"We just want everyone to exercise their right to vote regardless of their choice. It’s been a wonderful experience and I hope that everyone else has been enjoying it as well."
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Jennifer Goldberg is the culture editor and Best of Phoenix editor for Phoenix New Times.

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