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

Read Alexandra Erin and Courtney Milan On Why You Need to Vote, Even Though 2020 Won’t Be Fair

This OTYCD post originally appeared in July 2019. 

 

Read Alexandra Erin’s and Courtney Milan’s tweets on why you need to vote, even though the 2020 election almost certainly won’t be fair. [Keep in mind these tweets were sent well before the GOP Senate acquitted Trump in his impeachment trial.]

 

Alexandra Erin is a goddamn genius. We’ve said as much before, and we’re sure to say it again.

 

Her political tweets are marvels of insight and clarity. It’s tempting to devote blog posts to all her threads, and we avoid this only through serious discipline.

 

But she said some things in the wee hours of June 30, 2019 that need your attention. If you’re not on Twitter, or on Twitter and missed it, here you go.

 

It’s about the 2020 election, and what we’re facing, and why we need to vote anyway, no matter what fuckery and nonsense arises.

 

It’s in response to a June 29, 2019 thread by Courtney Milan (@courtneymilan) on the same subject.

 

We’re cutting and pasting the tweets as they appeared. Below them you’ll find info about Erin and Milan.

 

Courtney Milan (@courtneymilan) kicks it off:

 

A thing that is weird to me is that the Republicans seem to understand how the Democrats win elections, but the Democrats don’t.

 

See, it’s actually very simple: high turn out favors the Democrats. The higher the turn out, the better it is for the Democrats.

 

That’s why the entire Republican playbook is about disenfranchising and setting up stumbling blocks. Yes, some of those stumbling block differential hurt Democrats, but basically, all stumbling blocks hurt Democrats.

 

But the *spoken* words of Republicans and Democrats alike suggest that Democrats lose elections because they don’t convince enough Republicans, and that’s simply not true. Democrats don’t win elections because US voter turn out is abysmally low.

 

And so there’s this game that the media plays—and that Democrats play—and that the GOP plays—where we act like the election will be decided by three coal miners, the same three, every year. When the election will be decided by turn out.

 

If we care about electability, the question we need to be asking ourselves is: Which candidate is going to maximize turnout? Not: which candidate is going to convince three coal miners?

 

If it were easy to vote, we wouldn’t have any red states. We’d have a lot of deep blue states, some light blue states, and a handful of purple ones that would oscillate from year to year.

 

I’ve spent a lot of time wondering why the US is so different than their est of the world and—after looking at public opinion polls—I’m actually convinced that our population actually isn’t substantially more conservative than the rest of the world.

 

The issue we have is that a lot less of our population votes, and even if you consider only the voting population, our system is set up to magnify the votes of some segments of the population and to squelch the votes of others.

 

The truth of the matter is that if Democrats could enact laws that permanently got voter turnout to around 80%, the Republican party (at least in its current form) would case to exist in two to three election cycles.

 

 

Alexandra Erin (@alexandraerin) responds with her own thread:

 

We are not headed for a fair election. Not anything close to one. Probably the worst of my lifetime. Doesn’t mean we can’t win it. We definitely won’t if we don’t try, though, and that’s what the GOP counts on.

 

And this is the thing! This thing is the thing. The thing, it is this. For all that Bret Stephens talks about “ordinary people” like they’re red state racist rust belters, these guys *know* that this country skews blue and at least likes to think of itself as decent. [She’s referring to a late June 2019 Op-Ed in the New York Times.]

 

They know that “ordinary people” have some empathy and recoil from raw cruelty (when it’s not made palatable to them somehow).

 

And so while the digital arm of Trump’s campaign of despair does use incredibly sensitive data targeting, the everyday “ops” are far more broadly targeted.

 

The fewer people who vote, the more easily they can control the outcome. The fewer people who vote, the more the people they *prevent* from voting count, the more any votes that get changed count, the more their own votes count.

 

There is not a solid red state in this country. Whatever state you’re thinking of… nope. It’s got deep blue pockets and every election it could be a serious battlefield. They use gerrymandering and voter suppression to change that…

 

…and use psychological ops to obscure that this is what they’re doing. Call something a red state and half of us are ready to abandon it, even if they’re holding onto it by their fingernails. By the skin of their teeth.

 

The more people here in the US vote, the more progressive candidates and policies will win. If we can internalize that, if we can mobilize on that, if we can use that… then we can win so hard the GOP dies. And then let people choose between different visions of progress.

 

 

Follow Courtney Milan on Twitter:

@courtneymilan

 

See Milan’s website:

http://www.courtneymilan.com

 

See her blog:

http://www.courtneymilan.com/ramblings/

 

 

 

Follow Alexandra Erin on Twitter:

@alexandraerin

 

Read her blog here:

http://www.alexandraerin.com

 

Support her here:

https://www.patreon.com/AlexandraErin

https://www.paypal.com/donate/?token=3OEHAVn8SOrIky4-Et3gYMrIZxIW5Z1nOQZWj5CqEvnfzABpi01GyKbzHqSgZeI3xxfLxG

 

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Choose Your Core Four · Community Activism · Elections · Read, Educate Yourself, Prepare

Do You Live In Or Near a 2020 Swing State?

Do you live in a 2020 swing state? Find out. 

 

Whenever a presidential election approaches on the calendar, there’s much discussion of swing states–states that seem like they could tilt toward either the Democratic candidate or the Republican, and which should prove critical to a victory in the Electoral College. [A candidate has to rack up a minimum of 270 Electoral College votes to win the presidency. As of December 2019, the Electoral College consisted of 538 votes.]

 

Things have gotten ever more polarized over the years, which means the number of legitimate swing states has shrunk. But until we get rid of the Electoral College, swing states will exist, and they will matter more to the candidates than will states that are firmly red or blue.

 

In an August 2019 guest column for Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball, Alfred J. Tuchfarber identified six 2020 swing states:

 

Florida

Michigan

Minnesota

New Hampshire

Pennsylvania

Wisconsin

 

If you live in or near one of these states, it’s a good idea to pay closer attention and devote time and money to bringing about the result that you want to see.

 

In particular, you will want to stay on top of threats to the integrity of the voter rolls–attempts to restrict or suppress residents’ ability to cast a ballot–and you will want to do what you can to fight back.

 

And though Trump is notably weak on a national level, he might show stronger-than-expected poll numbers in specific states. For example, an early November 2019 CNBC piece shows Trump trailing Joe Biden in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Wisconsin, but faring better against Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. [Important note: the  polls discussed took place weeks before the House of Representatives wrote and voted on articles of impeachment against Trump.]

 

A looser definition seems to apply to “battleground” states–those regarded as less important to the overall Electoral College count, but which could be in play in the next presidential election.

 

In an undated piece about 2020 Battleground States, Taegan Goddard counts the six swing states mentioned above and includes:

 

Maine

North Carolina

Georgia

Texas

Arizona

 

If you live in or near these five states, you’ll want to keep an eye on things here as well. That said, if you need to budget your attention, favor the swing states over the battleground states. The six swing states merit mention in both the Sabato and the Goddard articles.

 

 

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Action Alerts · Community Activism · Online Privacy, Net Neutrality · Postcard Campaigns

Join the Postcards to Wisconsin Campaign (Updated January 25)

Help raise voter awareness in Wisconsin by joining the Postcards to Wisconsin campaign.

 

This post originally ran in December 2019. Because this is a time-sensitive campaign, we at OTYCD will rerun it every few weeks leading up to the mailing date.

 

Updated January 25, 2020: The Postcards to Wisconsin folks have amended the mailing dates for the postcard campaign.

 

Postcards should go out between March 26 and March 27, 2020 to ensure that they arrive around Friday, April 3, 2020.

 

If your packet of information stated a later date, IGNORE IT and go with March 26-27 instead.

 

If your packet called for an earlier date (some in states outside of Wisconsin and Illinois got them), stick with that earlier date.

 

And good news! As of January 18, more than 1,400 volunteers had ordered more than 341,000 postcards to prepare and mail for the campaign. Yay!

 

Original text follows.

 

Wisconsin will be a key state in the 2020 election. Whichever presidential candidate wins Wisconsin will likely win it all. It’s very difficult to succeed in 2020 without it.

 

Trump’s team knows this, and have already been targeting the state with money, time, and effort.

 

Fortunately, so too are Trump’s opponents. One of the many efforts to secure Wisconsin for the Democrats is the Postcards to Wisconsin campaign.

 

A project of the Indivisible Chicago Alliance, it’s recruiting folks to hand-write and prepare 500,000 postcards to arrive ahead of the Wisconsin primary, taking place April 7, 2020.

 

A few things to know if you wish to participate:

 

The postcards will be written between January 4, 2020 and March 31, 2020.

 

You should use the postcards that Postcards to Wisconsin will supply. Order postcards here, in a minimum count of 100.

 

You’ll receive a package in the mail that includes the postcards you requested, the addresses to which they should go, and a specific date when you should mail the finished cards. DO NOT mail the cards any earlier than the date you are assigned. 

 

As per usual with postcard-writing campaigns, you must supply the postcard stamps. They cost 35 cents each.

 

If you can’t participate, you can donate to the Postcards to Wisconsin campaign instead. Its organizers say that $10 allows them to reach 194 Wisconsin residents.

 

See the Postcards to Wisconsin website.

 

Like the Postcards to Wisconsin Facebook page.

 

Follow the Postcards to Wisconsin campaign on Twitter.

 

Boost the related hashtag #Postcards2WI

 

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Community Activism · Voting Rights, Fighting Voter Suppression

Look Carefully at Your Local Polling Place. Is It Accessible to the Disabled?

This OTYCD entry originally posted in November 2017.

 

Look carefully at your local polling place. Is it accessible to the disabled? Make note of what needs improving, and ask local electoral officials to make fixes before the 2018 midterms.

 

Today is November 7, 2017. Many state and local elections will take place. (Best of luck to the candidates OTYCD wrote about who are running in Virginia, New Jersey, and Manhattan.) If you’re going to the polls today, please look carefully at your local site and note how well it serves your disabled neighbors.

 

If you see things that need fixing, please bring them to the attention of your local electoral commission so they can be addressed before the 2018 midterms.

 

A note on photography: While you shouldn’t have problems taking photos of the exterior of the polling site, be careful when taking photos inside the voting area. Never photograph filled-out ballots, and make sure to take your photos when there’s no chance of a filled-out ballot appearing in your shot. If you end up needing to send your photos to state or local election officials, take care to blur the faces of any voters who are visible, to protect their privacy.

 

Things to look for:

 

Are there accessible parking spots near the poll site? Are they clearly designated and marked as such? Is at least one of the parking spots van-accessible (There’s a parking space and an area to one side of the parking space that’s painted with white or yellow diagonals)?

 

Are there ramps or a side entrance with no stairs that a disabled person could use to enter the building? Are the entrance doors wide enough to admit a wheelchair and easy for a wheelchair user to open (no funky old locks or latches)?

 

Once inside the building, are there sufficient elevators and ramps to allow disabled people to reach the area where the voting booths are placed? Are the elevators wide enough for a wheelchair? Are the elevator buttons at a height that wheelchair users can reach (no higher than four feet from the floor)?

 

Are there signs that point voters to the polling site? Where are they hung? How legible are the signs–are they clearly written and clearly printed? If your community speaks more than one language, are there signs in every major language? (If the poll provides ballots in that language, it should have signage in that language, too.)

 

Is the actual voting area laid out in a way that would allow wheelchair users to get around easily?

 

Is there at least one booth that’s wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair? Does it have a writing surface that’s at a height that would be useful to a wheelchair user?

 

Is there at least one vote-tally machine that is designed for use by wheelchair users?

 

What options are provided for blind voters, and for people who don’t use wheelchairs but who might need to sit to fill out their ballot?

 

Is there a long line to vote? (If you have a stopwatch function on your phone, use it to time the length of the wait.) Was the weather bad or challenging in any way? What accommodations are there (if any) for people who cannot stand for extended periods of time?

 

If the site cannot be made sufficiently accessible for disabled voters, does it offer curbside voting instead?

 

Another note for those who have disabled friends who want to vote: Do not advocate for them unless they explicitly ask you to help them.

 

If they do ask you for help, listen to what they say, watch what they do, and be alert to their needs. When in doubt, ask them what they want you to do. When you’re both in doubt, you might want to call your state Protection and Advocacy Hotline (scroll down for the link).

 

If you do spot something that seems like a problem, do not storm up to a pollworker and demand it be fixed then and there. Instead, compose an email or letter, or write down a script to use when calling the officials who choose, equip, and operate polling places.

 

Stay factual. Stick to describing what you saw, explaining why it’s problematic, and asking what can be done to make it better.

 

Keep following up on your request with the goal of fixing things before the 2018 primaries take place.

 

 

If you or someone who came with you to the polls are denied their right to vote–for any reason–you can call the Election Protection Coalition Hotline. A trained lawyer will answer and help with troubleshooting:

1.866.OUR.VOTE (1.866.687.8683)

 

 

If you or a disabled friend hit a disability-related problem that stops you from voting, you can call your state’s Protection and Advocacy Voter Hotline:

Directory of Protection and Advocacy Voter Assistance Hotlines 2016

 

 

Here’s a link that will help you find your state or local election officials:

https://www.usa.gov/election-office

 

 

Here’s a link to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Checklist for Polling Places:

Click to access votingchecklist.pdf

 

 

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 National Disability Rights Network’s page on voting:

http://www.ndrn.org/en/public-policy/voting.html

 

 

See the National Council on Independent Living’s links to resources on making the vote accessible:

Voting Accessibility – Media & Resources

 

 

Special thanks to Sarah at the National Council on Independent Living for her help with researching this post.

Voting Rights, Fighting Voter Suppression

Support Spread the Vote, Which Helps Citizens Obtain IDs

This OTYCD entry originally posted in July 2017.

 

Support Spread the Vote, an organization that helps citizens access the ballot by obtaining IDs that their states require.

 

Republicans have noticed that they are more likely to win when fewer voters turn out. For this reason, they have embraced anti-democratic (small d) moves such as placing restrictions and qualifications on access to the ballot. Requiring prospective voters to present specific forms of identification is a favorite of theirs.

 

Voter ID laws suck, and they constitute the modern version of a poll tax. It hits the poor, the working class, the elderly, the young, and minorities particularly hard.

 

Some lack the documents they need to obtain ID, and cannot muster the money needed to hunt down those documents. Some can’t get the time off work to stand in line at City Hall or the DMV to straighten things out. Some are college students, whose college IDs are not generally accepted, and who receive conflicting information about where they can vote (home or on campus).

 

Enter Spread the Vote. Its mission is to help people get the documents they need to access the ballot. According to its numbers, 21 million people lack a government-issued photo ID, and 31 states require some form of ID to vote.

 

By helping Spread the Vote, you help expand the pool of eligible voters and defeat bullshit obstacles thrown up by Republicans who find it easier to frustrate citizens rather than develop ideas and policies that people would want to vote for.

 

Spread the Vote is and has conducted state-specific projects in Virginia and Georgia, but its scope is nation-wide. Please encourage their good work in whatever manner you can.

 

 

See Spread the Vote’s webpage:

https://www.spreadthevote.org

 

 

Ask for its help with obtaining an ID so you can vote:

https://www.spreadthevote.org/vote/

 

 

Volunteer for Spread the Vote:

https://www.spreadthevote.org/volunteer/

 

 

Like it on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/SpreadTheVoteUS

 

 

Follow it on Twitter:

@SpreadTheVoteUS

 

 

Donate to Spread the Vote:

https://secure.squarespace.com/commerce/donate?donatePageId=58727f25f7e0ab8a674b88bb

 

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!

Choose Your Core Four · Community Activism · Elections · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends

Believe It, You Matter, Part VIII: No Matter What the Polls Say, Act Like Your Candidates Are Ten Points Behind

This OTYCD post originally appeared in August 2018. As we head into 2020, and the fight that it promises, it’s time to repost some classics.

 

No matter what the polls say, always act like your candidates are ten points behind.

 

If you’ve been watching the polls on “generic Democratic Congressional candidates” vs the GOP, you know that they’ve been all over the place–sometimes giving the Dems a huge lead, sometimes showing the GOP closing the gap.

 

Ignore those polls.

 

Ok, let’s be more specific. No matter what’s happening with the polls, always act like the candidates you’re supporting are ten points behind. Even if they’re not.

 

2018 promises to be the most consequential midterm election in several decades, and possibly the most consequential since midterms began. [Do I need to tell you that 2020 will be bigger than 2018? Yeah.]

 

You need to focus and stay focused on your candidates. (You’re using the Core Four technique, yes?)

 

Keep talking to friends and family about them. Keep volunteering for them. Keep donating to them regularly (small sums given monthly are better than a big lump sum given once). Keep boosting them on social media.

 

Stick to your schedule of self-imposed breaks. Burnout is a thing. We need you. Yes, things are bad and this election is crucial, but still, don’t try to do everything all the time or you won’t be able to do anything.

 

And! Keep talking to friends and family about voting, and make sure everyone you know is registered to vote, knows where the polling place is, and knows how they’re getting there on the day.

 

Polls say many things. Don’t be lulled into complacency if your candidates are doing well.  Keep putting in the same amount of time, money, and effort that you’ve put in all along, and encourage everyone you know who’s game to do more than show up and vote to do whatever else they’re willing to do, whatever that is.

 

Stay strong. Stay steady. Stay focused.

 

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

All the State Deadlines to Register to Vote in the 2020 Primaries, Compiled by Head Count (Please Spread the Word on This NOW, in January 2020)

Are you registered to vote? Do you need to help friends and family register to vote in time for their state’s 2020 presidential primary? Here’s a list of all the state deadlines.

 

If you want to vote in the 2020 presidential primaries, you have to register. If you’re not super-hyper-mega plugged in to politics, you might only notice your state’s primary before it happens but after the voter registration deadline has passed.

 

One of the many ways you can help push back against Trump in 2020 is make sure it isn’t just you going to the polls. You can help friends and family vote, too.

 

The good folks at Head Count have compiled a master sheet of all the state deadlines to register to vote in 2020. Bookmark it and share it early and often.

 

It’s important to start talking to people about deadlines to register to vote in the state primaries NOW, in January 2020, because the earliest of those deadlines fall in February 2020, and one deadline — South Carolina’s — takes place January 30, 2020.

 

Head Count is an excellent nonpartisan organization that sets up shop at concerts and helps register newly eligible young people to vote.

 

See its main website.

 

See its voting information page.

 

Learn how to volunteer with Head Count.

 

See the list of upcoming events at which Head Count will appear.

 

Donate to Head Count.

 

Like Head Count on Facebook.

 

Follow Head Count on Twitter.

 

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Action Alerts · Community Activism · Postcard Campaigns

Join the Postcards to Wisconsin Campaign

Help raise voter awareness in Wisconsin by joining the Postcards to Wisconsin campaign.

 

Wisconsin will be a key state in the 2020 election. Whichever presidential candidate wins Wisconsin will likely win it all. It’s very difficult to succeed in 2020 without it.

 

Trump’s team knows this, and have already been targeting the state with money, time, and effort.

 

Fortunately, so too are Trump’s opponents. One of the many efforts to secure Wisconsin for the Democrats is the Postcards to Wisconsin campaign.

 

A project of the Indivisible Chicago Alliance, it’s recruiting folks to hand-write and prepare 500,000 postcards to arrive ahead of the Wisconsin primary, taking place April 7, 2020.

 

A few things to know if you wish to participate:

 

The postcards will be written between January 4, 2020 and March 31, 2020.

 

You should use the postcards that Postcards to Wisconsin will supply. Order postcards here, in a minimum count of 100.

 

You’ll receive a package in the mail that includes the postcards you requested, the addresses to which they should go, and a specific date when you should mail the finished cards. DO NOT mail the cards any earlier than the date you are assigned. 

 

As per usual with postcard-writing campaigns, you must supply the postcard stamps. They cost 35 cents each.

 

If you can’t participate, you can donate to the Postcards to Wisconsin campaign instead. Its organizers say that $10 allows them to reach 194 Wisconsin residents.

 

See the Postcards to Wisconsin website.

 

Like the Postcards to Wisconsin Facebook page.

 

Follow the Postcards to Wisconsin campaign on Twitter.

 

Boost the related hashtag #Postcards2WI

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Candidates · Choose Your Core Four · Elections

Support M.J. Hegar’s Bid to Unseat Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn

Support M.J. Hegar’s bid to unseat Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn.

 

If M.J. Hegar seems familiar, she should. She was featured in that amazing campaign video, Doors, which went viral in 2018.

 

Hegar lost the House of Representatives race for which she made that ad. (The final tally was 50.6 to 47.7, so, close, but not enough to win.) Undaunted, she’s now aiming at Senator John Cornyn, who’s up for re-election in 2020.

 

She’s picked a hard row to hoe. The Cook Political Report rates Cornyn’s seat as Solid Republican. And while Cornyn has racked up more than his share of jackholery in his time in the Senate, he’s not Ted Cruz.

 

Please consider M.J. Hegar for your Core Four for 2020.

 

See Hegar’s campaign website:

MJ for Texas

 

Donate to her campaign:

https://secure.actblue.com/donate/mjh_website?refcode=web_homepage&amount=25&recurring=1

 

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 her on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/pg/MJforTexas/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1945077182405313&ref=page_internal

 

Follow her on Twitter:

@mjhegar

 

Rewatch her stirring Doors campaign video:

 

See Ballotpedia’s page on Hegar:

https://ballotpedia.org/M.J._Hegar

 

See Ballotpedia’s page for the Texas Senate election in 2020:

https://ballotpedia.org/United_States_Senate_election_in_Texas,_2020

Candidates · Elections · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends · Vote with your Dollars

Support Democrat Jaime Harrison’s Campaign to Unseat Republican Senator Lindsey Graham in 2020

Support Democrat Jaime Harrison’s campaign to unseat Republican Senator Lindsey Graham in 2020.

 

Graham is among the most infuriating Republicans in the Senate. He shows periodic flickers of self-awareness, but he never lets that get in the way of his craven pursuit of power. The man who once tweeted, “If we nominate Donald Trump, we will get destroyed……. and we will deserve it,” now golfs with the man on the regular.

 

We need someone to run against this malignant twerp. Jaime Harrison has stepped up.

 

He’s going to need our help. The Cook Political Report rates Lindsey’s seat as Solid Republican.

 

Please consider him for your Core Four for 2020.

 

See Jaime Harrison’s campaign website:

Jaime Harrison for Senate

 

Donate to Harrison’s campaign:

https://secure.actblue.com/donate/ms_harrison_fr_homepage_2019?refcode=MS_HP_FR_X_X_homepage_X__F1_S1_C1__X&recurring=auto&amount=25

 

Sign up to volunteer for Harrison (if you live in North Carolina): https://go.jaimeharrison.com/page/s/volunteer-sign-up?source=MS_HP_FR_X_X_homepage-signup_X__F1_S1_C1__X

 

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 him on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/pg/JaimeHarrisonSC/photos/?tab=album&album_id=328073017309141&ref=page_internal

 

Follow Harrison on Twitter:

@harrisonjaime

 

See Harrison’s Ballotpedia page:

https://ballotpedia.org/Jaime_R._Harrison