Elections · Read, Educate Yourself, Prepare · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms · Voting Rights, Fighting Voter Suppression

Read Let America Vote’s Guide to Standing Up for Voting Rights

This OTYCD post originally appeared in August 2018.

 

Read Your Guide to Standing Up for Voting Rights, a document by Let America Vote.

 

We at OTYCD beat the pro-voting-rights drum long, loud, early, and often. We believe that any American who can vote and wants to vote, should vote, and that anything that makes it harder to vote should be defeated and removed.

 

We’d feel this way even if low voter turnout favored Democratic candidates. Voting–giving everyone a voice–is what sets democracy apart from other systems of government. Voting rights should be expanded, and voter suppression should be shamed out of existence.

 

We hope you feel the same way. Let America Vote, an organization founded by Jason Kander, a former secretary of state of Missouri and host of the Crooked Media podcast Majority 54, has created Your Guide to Standing Up for Voting Rights, a comprehensive overview of how to fight back.

 

It identifies voter suppression gambits to watch for, and explains why they’re bad. It also describes pro-voting policies to support, and explains why they’re good.

 

It also tells you which officials on the local, state, and federal levels have power over voting rights, and how best to make your voice heard.

 

As of mid-January 2018, the Let America Vote document hadn’t been updated to reflect the fact that Trump has disbanded the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, aka the voter fraud commission, and has asked the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to take over some of its work. Still, if fighting voter suppression matters to you, make time to read the guide.

 

 

Download the PDF document, Your Guide to Standing Up for Voting Rights:

https://www.letamericavote.org/guide-standing-voting-rights/

 

 

Visit the Let America Vote page:

https://www.letamericavote.org

 

 

Learn about restrictive voting laws that might apply in your state:

https://www.letamericavote.org/states/

 

 

Like Let America Vote on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/letamericavote/

 

 

Follow it on Twitter:

@LetAmericaVote

 

 

Apply to intern with Let America Vote:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSc8QCrO26Rw_ciCPQSrfNEG8DuCCoZLAASK_ZsCIJ_s1YzAow/viewform

 

 

Volunteer to help Let America Vote:

https://secure.letamericavote.org/page/s/get-involved

 

 

Donate to Let America Vote:

https://secure.actblue.com/contribute/page/lav-main?recurring=true

 

 

Download and listen to the Majority 54 podcast:

https://crooked.com/podcast-series/majority-54/

 

 

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Action Alerts · Community Activism · Voting Rights, Fighting Voter Suppression

Help #EndCrosscheck, That Data-sharing Program Used to Disenfranchise Voters

This OTYCD post originally ran in June 2018.

 

Help #EndCrosscheck, a data-sharing program that’s been used to disenfranchise voters.

 

You’ve probably heard of Crosscheck, an interstate data-sharing program that has effectively disenfranchised voters across the country. It got its start in 2005 but devolved into a problem in 2011 after Kris Koback gained control of it.

 

As of April 2018, Koback is Kansas’s secretary of state and was the vice chairman of the Presidential Commission for Election Integrity, created after Trump claimed that around three million votes in the 2016 presidential election–not coincidentally the difference between the 62 million he received and the 65 million Hillary Clinton received–might have been cast illegally. Koback claims that voter fraud is widespread, despite evidence that shows it isn’t.

 

Crosscheck might be his favorite tool for spotting potential double votes, or the same person casting a ballot in two states. He favors it despite Crosscheck’s tendency to generate a startling number of false positives and despite flaws that leave sensitive voter data vulnerable. It also seems to flag voters of color more often than white voters.

 

As of 2017, a total of 28 states participated in Crosscheck (Massachusetts has since left the program). #EndCrosscheck formed after the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity asked the states for their voter data (fortunately, most refused, and the commission was ultimately disbanded).

 

Many of #EndCrosscheck’s members are affiliated with Indivisible Chicago. It is devoted to doing just that–ending Crosscheck–by helping people learn what Crosscheck does and urge their states to leave the program or refuse to adopt it.

 

 

See the #EndCrosscheck webpage:

https://www.endcrosscheck.com/

 

 

Learn if your state is a member of Crosscheck (and if you scroll down, you can see if your state was once part of Crosscheck but isn’t now):

https://www.endcrosscheck.com/is-my-state-in-crosscheck/

 

 

See its Crosscheck FAQ:

https://www.endcrosscheck.com/crosscheck-faq/

 

 

Join the fight to end Crosscheck in your home state and other states:

https://www.endcrosscheck.com/join-the-fight

 

 

Follow #EndCrosscheck on Twitter:

@endcrosscheck

 

 

Follow Indivisible Chicago on Twitter:

@IndivisibleChi

 

 

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Call Your State Legislators · Community Activism · Elections · Voting Rights, Fighting Voter Suppression

Learn If Your State Is Passing Laws That Restrict Voting, and Fight Back

This OTYCD entry originally posted in June 2017.

Is your state trying to pass laws that make it harder to vote? Consult the Brennan Center’s info and maps, and if the answer is yes, fight back.

 

Voting restrictions are a scourge on democracy, but as long as they benefit Republicans, Republicans will try to pass them. We feel that if you are eligible to vote, and you want to vote, you should be able to vote, and you should be given many options for doing so to let you choose what works best for your schedule.

 

The Brennan Center for Justice, located at the New York University School of Law, tracks state bills that intend or have the effect of making it harder to vote.

 

First, read the Brennan Center’s Voting Laws Roundup for 2017, and see if your state is mentioned:

https://www.brennancenter.org/analysis/voting-laws-roundup-2017?utm_content=bufferba0df&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

 

Also see the Brennan Center’s interactive map of New Voting Restrictions in America:

https://www.brennancenter.org/new-voting-restrictions-america

 

Once you know what’s going on in your state, call your state-level reps to speak out against laws that restrict voting.

 

Don’t know who your state house rep and state senator are? Plug your address and zip code into this search tool (note–the address is key. If you only give your zip code, you won’t get the two names you most need):

https://whoaremyrepresentatives.org

 

Then click on the names of your state house rep and state senator. Their contact info will come up.

 

Here’s a sample script that you can modify accordingly:

“Dear (State Senator/House Rep Lastname), I ask you to oppose (House/Senate bill ####), which will have the effect of making it harder to cast a vote. Everyone who is eligible to vote, and wants to, should have the opportunity to do so. Bills and laws that make it harder to vote are inherently anti-democratic. Please do not sponsor, co-sponsor, or support bills that stop people from voting. Thank you.”

 

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Community Activism · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends · Voting Rights, Fighting Voter Suppression

Learn Which Three States Prevent Felons Who Have Fulfilled Their Sentences from Voting, And Learn How Other States Handle Felons and Voting Rights

Learn which three states prevent felons who have fulfilled their sentences from voting, and learn how other states handle felons and voting rights.

 

Florida made headlines in November 2018 when about 65 percent of voters who turned out supported Amendment 4, which restored voting rights to felons who have completed their sentences.

 

Amendment 4 could re-enfranchise more than one million Florida voters, many of them black. Naturally, the GOP-controlled state legislature is trying to get around the implications of the new law by attempting what amounts to an unconstitutional poll tax. (Fortunately, Andrew Gillum is on the case.)

 

Three other states are as restrictive as Florida once was with its felons. They are:

 

Iowa

 

Kentucky

 

Virginia

 

We at OTYCD are not aware of any Amendment 4-style efforts in those states to change their laws, but if we learn of any, we will post them here and probably give them separate posts as well.

 

 

In 19 states, prisoners, parolees, and people on probation cannot vote, but everyone else can.

Those 19 states are:

 

Alaska

 

New Jersey

 

West Virginia

 

North Carolina

 

South Carolina

 

Georgia

 

Wisconsin

 

Minnesota

 

South Dakota

 

Nebraska

 

Missouri

 

Kansas

 

Arkansas

 

Oklahoma

 

Louisiana

 

Texas

 

New Mexico

 

Idaho

 

Washington

 

Felons who live in these states could benefit from a public awareness campaign that lets them know that if they have completed their sentences, they are eligible to vote.

 

 

Four states bar prisoners and parolees from voting, but allow those on probation to vote. They are:

 

California

 

New York

 

Colorado

 

Connecticut

 

Again, a public awareness-raising campaign would be useful here.

 

 

Fourteen other states, plus the District of Columbia, only stop people in prison from voting. But, again, ex-prisoners, parolees, and folks on probation may not be aware that they’re eligible to vote. This group includes:

 

Rhode Island

 

New Hampshire

 

Massachusetts

 

Pennsylvania

 

Maryland

 

Ohio

 

Michigan

 

Indiana

 

Illinois

 

North Dakota

 

Montana

 

Utah

 

Oregon

 

The District of Columbia

 

Just two states never take away their residents’ right to vote, even if they’re in prison: Vermont and Maine.

 

Getting as many people out to vote–both in 2019 election and the 2020 election–is crucial. Please know your rights and help others know their rights.

 

See the ACLU’s Felony Disenfranchisement Laws map:

https://www.aclu.org/issues/voting-rights/voter-restoration/felony-disenfranchisement-laws-map

 

See our past post about the ACLU, which includes links to its main page and a donation page:

https://onethingyoucando.com/2018/12/08/support-the-american-civil-liberties-union-aclu/

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the blue button on the upper right or checking the About & Subscribe page. And tell your friends about the blog!

 

See the OTYCD 2019 To-Do List, which stresses helping register people to vote:

https://onethingyoucando.com/your-2019-to-do-list/

 

Support Andrew Gillum’s org, Bring It Home Florida, which helps Floridians register to vote:

https://onethingyoucando.com/2019/03/31/help-andrew-gillum-register-floridians-to-vote-in-time-for-the-2020-presidential-race/

 

See an April 2018 piece from the New York Times on states’ laws regarding felons and voting rights:

 

Community Activism · Elections · Vote with your Dollars · Voting Rights, Fighting Voter Suppression

Help Andrew Gillum Register Floridians to Vote in Time for the 2020 Presidential Race

Help Andrew Gillum register Floridians to vote ahead of the 2020 presidential race.

 

Gillum made headlines when he fought valiantly in 2018 in the Florida gubernatorial race. (He was narrowly defeated by Republican Ron DeSantis.)

 

Far from being cowed by the loss, Gillum has devoted himself to fulfilling the promise of Amendment 4, which voters passed last year.

 

The amendment passed with 65 percent of the vote, more than the 60 percent required to make it law. It will re-enfranchise more than a million Floridians–possibly as many as 1.4 million, the numbers vary–who were barred from voting after a felony conviction.

 

Republicans know all too well that the more people vote, the more likely their candidates are to lose.

 

And they also know all too well how critical Florida has been to presidential contests. The 2000 contest hit a serious snag there, with recounts and hanging chads and other absurdities. Ultimately, the Supreme Court stepped in and ruled in favor of Republican George W. Bush over Democrat Al Gore in a decision that deserves eternal side-eye.

 

Though Amendment 4 was well-written, state-level GOP are doing their damnedest to neuter it. They’re trying to pass a law that would force all ex-felons to pay any and all remaining court fees before they’re allowed to vote again, a move that many have called out as a variation on a unconstitutional poll tax.

 

Gillum, who had many options available to him after his impressive campaign and close loss, has chosen to invest his momentum in an effort to register as many new Florida voters as possible.

 

Gillum created Bring It Home Florida to ensure that Amendment 4 works as designed, and to make the state as fierce a fight as possible for Trump in 2020.

 

We at OTYCD are going to beat the voter registration drum hard in 2019, but we’re starting here.

 

The most important thing you can do this year, the year before the presidential contest, is to register or help register as many people to vote as possible.

 

We need to recruit new voters and we need to encourage people to vote. The more who vote, the more likely we are to vote Trump out of office in 2020.

 

If your funds are limited, the smartest use of your money in 2019 is giving it to Get Out the Vote (GOTV) organizations such as Bring It Home Florida. Even more so than giving it to candidates, to be honest.

 

If your budget allows, please, do both. But if it doesn’t, put your money into signing people up to vote and removing barriers to voting.

 

An interesting final note on this. Rick Wilson, a onetime GOP operative who lives in Florida, and author of Everything Trump Touches Dies, had this to say about Bring It Home Florida on Twitter on March 21, 2019, not long after Gillum unveiled the initiative:

 

1/ A few words about Andrew Gillum’s plan to register a million new voters in Florida.

 

2/ Once upon a Time in the dark ages of the early 90s the Republican party of Florida got off its ass and started registering voters. This was during the era of Tom Slade, a two-fisted balls-out party chairman and after.

 

3/ Then came the era of complacency and corruption with Charlie Crist and Jim Greer. (Wrote about it in years ago. You can Google it.) Rick Scott hated the party and ran his own independent operation. We kind of slacked off on the whole voter reg thing.

 

4/ Fastest growing voter demo in Florida forever has been non-party affiliated. Basically a tie ball game between the Republicans and the Democrats. Democrats have seen greater greater growth in South Florida, Republicans in North Florida, broadly speaking.

 

5/ Democratic party of Florida is a gigantic trainwreck without the ability to get out of its own way, to mount a serious campaign operations, or to win statewide races by and large.

 

6/ Current #: R: 4.7 D: 4.9 NPA: 3.6 The NPA FL voter in the last 20 years is *broadly* a Shy Tory R voter. Call it 55-60ish%. or may disagree, but we can parse it later.

 

7/ So if is serious, and registers and IDs and *activates* even 500,000 it’s a game changer up and down the ticket. Hillary Clinton’s people talked about doing something similar, but it was a complete Potemkin village.

 

8/ It would be of much greater consequence than a quixotic presidential bid. If roughly half the Democratic field did the same they would alter the shape of American politics, but doing the gut work of politics is boring and hard.

 

So, please, let’s support the guy who passed up a run at the presidency to do the boring, hard gut work of politics.

 

 

See the Bring It Home Florida website:

https://bringithomefl.org

 

 

Donate to Bring It Home Florida:

https://secure.actblue.com/donate/bringithomefl

 

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the blue button on the upper right or checking the About & Subscribe page. And tell your friends about the blog!

 

 

Like Bring It Home Florida on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/pg/BringItHomeFlorida/photos/?tab=album&album_id=787690298266063

 

 

Follow Bring It Home Florida on Twitter:

@BringItHomeFL

 

 

Read about the passage of Amendment 4 in 2018:

https://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/election/article220678880.html

https://www.npr.org/2018/11/07/665031366/over-a-million-florida-ex-felons-win-right-to-vote-with-amendment-4

 

 

Read about Gillum announcing the creation of Bring It Home Florida:

https://www.politico.com/states/florida/story/2019/03/20/gillums-red-flag-plan-to-stop-trump-1m-new-florida-voters-927053

https://floridapolitics.com/archives/291446-gillum-announces-voter-registration-effort

 

 

Read about the Florida GOP legislator’s attempt to neuter Amendment 4 by creating what amounts to an unconstitutional poll tax:

Elections · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms · Voting Rights, Fighting Voter Suppression

VOTE. HELP YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY VOTE. TODAY IS THE DAY. THE MIDTERM ELECTIONS ARE HERE.

The time has come.

 

It’s worth all caps.

 

VOTE. HELP YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY VOTE. TODAY IS THE DAY. THE MIDTERMS ARE HERE!

 

Know also: Some Democrats will lose some races. We at OTYCD would be delighted if every Democrat wins every race everywhere, but come on, that’s not gonna happen.

 

Know also: Trump, notoriously, has done nothing to secure America’s voting infrastructure against onslaughts from Russian cyber-attacks.

 

Whatever happens, stay strong, stay realistic, and stay here and carry on the fight.

 

Action Alerts · Candidates · Choose Your Core Four · Community Activism · Read, Educate Yourself, Prepare · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends · Vote with your Dollars · Voting Rights, Fighting Voter Suppression

Work Like Never Before: Countdown to the Midterms

Sarah Jane here. I’m the lead writer and editor on the One Thing You Can Do blog.

 

We’re post-Kavanaugh. We’re angry and exhausted but anger is winning out.

 

Here is the silver lining: The pushback against Kavanaugh scared the crap out of the GOP, and while they won (which is bad, don’t get me wrong), they won by a hair, a sneeze, a twitch, a wiggle, a blink, and they had to fight like hell and take damage and break shitloads of rules and norms and traditions to eke out that whisper of a win.

 

The GOP know how precarious it is, and they’re feeling it. The boasting at Kavanaugh’s formal confirmation ceremony (which is damn weird and wrong in context, because c’mon, we’re talking about SCOTUS here, and SCOTUS is supposed to be above politics, right?) is just as much to shore themselves up and sell themselves on what they just did as it is to perform ritual cruelty and recommit to general assholic behavior.

 

They want you to go away. GOP Senate Leader Mitch McConnell is convinced this will all blow over.

 

Show McConnell that he is wrong. Show him this won’t blow over. Show the GOP you are not going to go away.

 

Assuming you’ve had a rest–because you should really, properly step away and rest for a bit after all this–stoke the glowing embers of your anger and light your way through the last few weeks before the midterms.

 

If you’re not using the Core Four strategy, check it out, then pick two Democrats to support in each chamber of Congress, an incumbent and a challenger for each.

 

Donate to worthy Democratic incumbents and challengers.

 

Canvass–knock on doors to talk to people in person about the merits of a candidate for office.

 

Phone-bank and text-bank–like canvassing, except it’s over the phone or via text.

 

Write get out the vote (GOTV) postcards and help underwrite Tony the Democrat’s postcard-writing army.

 

Follow Celeste Pewter (@Celeste_Pewter) on Twitter for updates on the state of the (admittedly difficult, thoroughly worth it) quest by Democrats to claim control the Senate.

 

Follow Swing Left (@swingleft) on Twitter for updates on the state of the quest by Democrats to claim control of the House of Representatives (doing well at the moment but as we’ve said before, always act like your candidates are 10 points behind, even if they aren’t).

 

Follow Flippable (@flippable_org) on Twitter for updates on efforts to flip state legislatures blue, and see what you can do for your own state’s legislature. We need to turn the state legislatures blue to, for example, remove anti-abortion laws sitting on the books that would go into effect if Roe vs. Wade is overturned.

 

Follow Tokyo Sand (@DHSTokyo) on Twitter and subscribe to the Political Charge blog for updates on state voter registration deadlines as they approach and arrive, plus vital related news about the midterms.

 

Assuming it’s not too late in your state, consider filling out and returning an absentee ballot now, to free yourself to help others get to their polling places on November 6. Take the day off work if you can and volunteer to help others vote.

 

Learn if your state is one that allows 17-year-olds to register to vote if they’ll be 18 by November 6, and help them register, if there’s still time.

 

Put campaign signs on your lawn and campaign stickers on your car.

 

Talk to friends and family about voting. Help them make a plan to vote on November 6. Help those who want to do more than just vote.

 

Be welcoming and kind to Independents, Libertarians, Republicans, and others who don’t normally vote for Democrats but are doing so in the 2018 midterms.

 

Talk to people who didn’t vote in 2016. Donate to organizations that help people register to vote.

 

Don’t compare yourself to other activists. Don’t beat yourself up for not being able to do as much as you want to do. See the value in what you are doing, and keep doing it.

 

Give as much time as you can to as many candidates as you can on the federal, state, and local levels [as well as ballot questions, if that applies in your state].

 

Months ago, we asked you to donate two hours a week to helping your preferred candidates. Now that we’re T-minus one month from the midterms, we’re asking you to take your schedules in hand and figure out how much time you can devote to the democracy bucket brigade between now and November 6.

 

Anything you do from the list above counts. Include routine self-care in there, too.

 

And, Believe It: You Matter. It’s true, and it never stops being true. You matter, your vote matters, and your activism matters.

 

Go forth and do good, people.

 

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