Candidates · Choose Your Core Four · Community Activism · Elections · Voting Rights, Fighting Voter Suppression

Believe It, You Matter, Part XIV: Feel Your Feelings and Vote Anyway

Believe It, You Matter, Part XIV: Feel your feelings and vote anyway.

 

Hi, I’m Sarah Jane. I write all the Believe It, You Matter entries. I’ve long since forgotten what Roman numeral I’m up to so I apologize if I’ve used 12 before.

 

Anyway. I’m here to talk about voter suppression, in part because the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) bizarrely (and irresponsibly, IMO) threw up its hands (well, five of the nine did) and essentially said it couldn’t do anything to stop gerrymandering, not even the ludicrously extreme gerrymanders drawn to explicitly corral and nullify the votes of one party.

 

This is the latest bit of news that could dispirit us. And hey, it’s OK to feel dispirited about such a thing. But please, please, do not let it stop you from voting, ever.

 

No matter what, show the fuck up and vote, and help others vote, too.

 

Republicans know, and have known, they can’t win if they can’t stop people from voting. Blatant, flagrant cheating, such as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis attempting to defang Article 4’s re-enfranchisement of more than a million felons by requiring them to pay assorted fees before they can cast a ballot, is one such move.

 

But the vote-suppressors work in subtler ways as well, ways that get less attention.

 

One of those ways is fostering despair and disgust with the whole voting process.

 

They try to make people feel that voting doesn’t matter, and it’s not worth the trouble.

 

It does, and it is.

 

As we advance into 2020, be alert to attempts to dispirit you and yours about the act of voting. It’s already happening, it’s happening in particular on social media, and not all of it is the work of bots, btw.

 

They’re doing it because it works, even if it’s kind of oblique and hard to quantify. The vote-suppressors don’t have to get everyone to stay home, or specific people to stay home. They need just enough people to stay home to make a difference.

 

You need to carry on talking to you and yours about the importance of voting, and removing obstacles to voting, both literal and figurative.

 

You need to tell people they matter, and their vote matters, and there are people out there who want them to give up and stay home. Fuck those people.

 

Now, when you talk, you should be straight with them. Acknowledge that fuckery is likely in 2020. Trump has explicitly said he would accept information foreign governments offer him about his opponents, which prompted the chairwoman of the Federal Election Commission to issue a statement saying that accepting anything of value from a foreign government is a crime. Mitch McConnell has consistently refused to advance bills that would protect the integrity of the 2020 election.

 

Republicans, in particular, are doing whatever they can to suppress the vote.

 

Go out and vote anyway. Go out and vote, faithfully and always, and help others vote, too. Every time. No matter what fuckery abounds.

 

Hell, go vote IN SPITE OF the fuckery. Flip the bird by throwing the lever for a Democrat.

 

Also, keep talking to your friends and family about the importance of voting.

 

Talk about how excited you are to vote for specific candidates, and say their names, out loud, often.

 

Do this even if it feels like it’s not enough.

 

Do it even if you feel like no one is listening to you.

 

Do this even if the crisis du jour is turning your mood grim. If you need to take a break to work through your feelings, do it, and come back.

 

Vote even if the Democratic candidates look like they’re running away with it.

 

Vote, because you matter, and your vote matters.

 

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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/

 

 

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 · 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

 

 

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!

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.”

 

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!

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:

 

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

See Vote.Org’s List of All 50 State Voter Registration Deadlines (Updated September 2, 2018, With an Explanation Of Why You’re Seeing This Repost)

Update: This OTYCD post originally appeared on July 2, 2018. We have deliberately cleared the queue of new posts to leave this repost up until October 6, 2018, when the earliest state voter registration deadlines for 2018 begin to pass. Please click on the above link titled Important Announcement from OTYCD’s Sarah Jane to learn why timely posts have ceased.

 

See Vote.org’s list of voter registration deadlines for all 50 states.

 

Loyal OTYCD readers know the importance of recruiting as many friends and family members as possible to come out and vote in the 2018 midterms, which happen on Tuesday, November 6. If we’re going to fix what’s broken, it can’t just be you going to the polls.

 

You’re also probably alarmed by the Supreme Court’s recent ruling in favor of allowing Ohio to purge its rolls of voters who haven’t cast a ballot in a few cycles and do not respond to an inquiry from election officials.

 

The ruling sucks. Let’s not sugar-coat it. States now have permission to delist registered voters who haven’t cast a ballot recently. Ohio was evidently sending out a ‘hey are you out there’ notice after one “missed” election cycle, which makes their purging efforts exceptionally aggressive.

 

If you believe that voting is a right, not a privilege, the SCOTUS decision is a slap in the face of democracy. It lets states act as if voting is a “use it or lose it” kind of thing. It isn’t, and it shouldn’t be.

 

Anyway! The way to fight back is to step up and do the work on behalf of your friends and family. You need to help them check and confirm that they’re registered to vote, and help them register if they’re not. You need to make this task as easy for them as possible.

 

So, it’d help to know when it’s too late to register to vote in the home states of your friends and family, would it not?

 

Fortunately, the folks at Vote.org are on the case. They’ve cataloged and listed the voter registration deadlines for all 50 states.

 

And good news–the furthest-out deadline appears to be 31 days before Election Day, and that’s only in one state, and only if you’re mailing your ballot. Most states’ voter registration deadlines fall within the 30 days before E-Day, and some allow voters to register on the day itself.

 

So! You still have months to help friends and family register to vote, and you still have time to follow up on and re-register if the first attempt failed somehow.

 

 

See Vote.org’s webpage on voter registration deadlines across America:

https://www.vote.org/voter-registration-deadlines/

 

 

Also see our post on making sure you’re registered to vote, which contains a link you can use to help friends and family check their registration status:

https://onethingyoucando.com/2017/12/16/check-this-site-and-make-sure-youre-registered-to-vote/

 

 

You have many options for supporting the good work of Vote.org.

 

 

See their website:

https://www.vote.org

 

 

Donate to Vote.org:

https://secure.actblue.com/contribute/page/votedotorg2018?refcode=website-top-nav

 

 

Shop Vote.org merch:

https://shop.vote.org

 

 

Like them on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/votedotorg

 

 

Follow Vote.org on Twitter:

@votedotorg

 

 

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!

 

 

Elections · Voting Rights, Fighting Voter Suppression

Check Out Let America Vote’s Voter Suppression Hall of Shame, and See If Your Electeds Are There

Check out Let America Vote’s Voter Suppression Hall of Shame, and see if your elected officials are there.

 

Access to the ballot box should not be a partisan issue. It just shouldn’t. But Republicans have discovered that if they can frustrate and discourage voters from heading to the polls, their candidates are more likely to win.

 

We at OTYCD feel that any American who can vote, and wants to vote, should vote. Period. Simple as that.

 

Any elected official who tries to make it harder for citizens to vote should be shamed mercilessly, publicly, and often until they quit their bullshit.

 

We support Let America Vote’s Voter Suppression Hall of Shame website and encourage you to see if any of your elected officials appear there.

 

The good news is that as of January 2018, there aren’t many inductees. The bad news is that any electeds sink to the level required to enter the Hall of Shame.

 

 

See the Voter Suppression Hall of Shame:

http://www.votersuppressionshame.com

 

 

Nominate an elected official for the Voter Suppression Hall of Shame:

https://secure.letamericavote.org/page/s/nominate-a-vote-suppressor

 

 

See the main website for Let America Vote:

https://www.letamericavote.org

 

 

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!

 

 

Donate to Let America Vote:

https://secure.actblue.com/contribute/page/lav-main

 

 

Like Let America Vote on Facebook:

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

 

 

Follow it on Twitter:

@letamericavote

 

 

Check out its Merch page:

https://store.letamericavote.org