"The vote is all we have in 2020. Let's not blow it." Editor's note.
The mass marches against racism and police brutality have changed us all.
But they’re not enough.
All these gatherings need voter registration tables with detailed information on how to save the election currently scheduled for November 3.
Too many uprisings have shaken the nation, then faded away.
We all must vote. But this year, there’s much more to do.
Stripped voter rolls, a sabotaged vote by mail system, a flipped vote count … these chokeholds can kill American democracy. Come November 3, unless we act, we can’t breathe.
Millions of election protection activists must work every precinct, county, and state election center. Grassroots networks must protect how this election will be conducted. Our very survival depends on making sure there’s a national vote this fall that truly reflects the will of the American people.
Protesters encourage voting.
That means dealing with 2020’s “election protection trinity”:
Sixteen million Americans have been stripped from our voter rolls. We need to get them re-registered.
If you think you’re all set to vote, you’d better go online, or to the election board, to make sure. Millions who’ve been robbed of their rights don’t even know it. Many are elderly or without internet access. Depending on the rules of your state, you could be the election protector to re-enfranchise them (and yourself).
Republicans – led by Trump – fear that when “too many Americans vote” they lose elections. They’re doing something about it.
Gerrymandered legislatures make it as hard as they can for certain citizens to get registered and stay registered.
Over the next five months, you need to check the voter rolls, make sure those who are registered apply to get ballots, and get those who’ve been stripped (maybe including yourself) back on the rolls.
Vote by Mail
Since 2000, the chief tools for US election theft have been electronic voting machines. But hand-marked paper ballots are the most reliable way to conduct our elections. As long as we have a post office, they can be mailed to all eligible citizens.
This year most Americans will want to avoid the polls. The coronavirus will be there, along with armed Trump thugs come to terrorize primarily citizens of color. Disciplined nonviolent activists must be at the voting centers to help with social distancing, with the details of voting, and to neutralize the Trump terrorists.
VBM does provide hand-markable paper ballots and can avoid many of 2020’s unique pitfalls.
But it's complicated and demanding, with at least 20 identifiable points of vulnerability. That includes making sure ballots are printed properly, that there are enough of them, that they get mailed in time, and much more.
Many states will encounter huge volumes of mailed-in paper ballots for the first time. Issues of gathering, storing, protecting, and counting the ballots could decide the election.
Marchers willing to face down armed police and endure tear-gas might now consider learning how VBM works in their home precinct, county, and state, making sure ballots get to everyone who deserves one, and guaranteeing that we finish with a vote count that reflects what America really wants.
Counting the Votes
Simply handling this year’s tsunami of paper ballots will be a huge challenge for many election centers. Receiving, storing, chain of custody, and counting issues will require careful planning and nerve-wracking execution. Resources of all kinds will be severely stretched.
Most local election boards now have ballot imaging devices that can quickly produce a reliable tally while preserving the actual ballots. But they’re not perfect.
The election protection movement must guarantee that these machines and other methods of vote counting work properly, producing reliable results while preserving the ballots to be recounted.
Informed, focused activists must stick around long after the voting ends to monitor and participate in these vote counts.
All the above is doable. But none of it is easy. Guaranteeing a full and fair election will demand a huge commitment from the entire activist community. Ending racism and police brutality depend on it. So does defeating authoritarian rule.
These weeks of great civic outpourings must not fade and dissipate like so many other uprisings of the past.
In less than five months, we will choose between dictatorship and democracy.
But the election itself is at risk.
Your vote alone is crucial – but not enough.
Millions have marched against racism and police brutality.
Will you now commit the next five months to winning a free and fair election?