Take your POWER to the Polls on Election Day 2020

Photo by Elliott Stallion on Unsplash
“Power” by FITUMI is a film and music video about the history of voter suppression and the power of a single vote. YOUR single vote. If you’re motivated by anything today let it be this video and this song as you hit the polls.

Five Important Reasons to Exercise Your Right to Vote on Election Day 2020

  1. Everything is an absolute disaster, the world is an absolute mess. If we all do the labor, put in the effort and put in the collective work we CAN clean up the mess. Each and every vote counts and recognizing that elections have been won by even the tiniest of margins- a single vote- your vote? is important. So today, please vote! Vote because you care, vote because you’re tired of our wrecked two party system and want it changed in the future. Vote because you want to see change for future generations. Vote because you can be part of making change- major change!
  2. Vote for those who can’t. Our country has many who are currently voiceless for a myriad of reasons. So vote on behalf of an estimated 5.17 million people who are disenfranchised due to a felony conviction. Or maybe you’d rather vote on behalf of DACA recipients who cannot vote but are major parts of our communities often owning businesses, working alongside you, showing up as frontline workers, and paying $8.7 million in taxes annually because while they can’t show up at the polls, they’ve been working hard to urge others.
  3. Voting gives you the right to complain. If you don’t drop your ballot in the box you don’t get to complain when the government poorly spends your tax dollars, or the President doesn’t fill his campaign promises. You’re tired of our shitty two party system and our government and ready for a revolution? The Revolution starts down ballot, and it starts with your vote. It’s not going to happen in a vacuum and you don’t get a say from the sidelines. As an adult with the right and ability to cast your vote it is hypocritical to voice opinions about those in power and not vote. There are places in the world in which people are not given the options we are to choose their governing body. All you have to do is get up and go!
  4. Your dollars are on the line. Of course you pay taxes, but are you paying attention to how that money is being spent? The majority of people aren’t aware and do not pay attention. When you cast your ballot you have an opportunity to decide (or have a hand in deciding) how your tax dollars are spent- like funding for housing, health care, social services, etc.
  5. Women’s reproductive rights are on the line- and it should be terrifying. In 2019 more than 350 restrictions on access to sexual and reproductive health were introduced in almost every state in the US alone, Trump has appointed 200 judges to lifetime appointments some of which were against IVF and abortion, and recently an ultra conservative Supreme Court Justice who is predicted to be willing to overturn Roe v. Wade putting women’s reproductive rights in jeopardy. So, go vote because everyone deserves to have their rights protected, or not I guess, depending on how you view this issue!

Five Ways We’ve Seen Voter Suppression in 2020

  1. The Trump Campaign “Sniffing Out Voter Fraud” Ben Ginsberg, one of the most notable Republican election attorneys in the United States blasted Trump’s campaign and legal team in a piece published in Sunday’s edition of the Washington Post. He specifically cited 40 voting and ballot court cases across the country none of which are attempting to make voting easier or more accessible but rather creating barriers and engaging in obvious voter suppression.

President Trump has failed the test of leadership. His bid for reelection is foundering. And his only solution has been to launch an all-out, multimillion-dollar effort to disenfranchise voters — first by seeking to block state laws to ease voting during the pandemic, and now, in the final stages of the campaign, by challenging the ballots of individual voters unlikely to support him.

2. Voter Registration Restrictions. Restricting requirements and terms of voter registration is one of the most common forms of voter suppression. Common restrictions include requiring documentation to prove citizenship or identification, penalties for voter registration drives, or limiting times in which one can register to vote.

Politicians often use ridiculous and unfounded claims of voter fraud as a means to attempt to justify registration restrictions.

Some states restrict voter registration by allowing people to register to vote only in advance of the election. In New York voters are required to register at least 25 days before voting. This is an undue burden. In times where things are digital this is wholly unnecessary- as this law was designed for snail mail and it greatly impacts voter participation leaving 25 days in which voters can’t be registered. In 2016 over 90,00 New Yorkers didn’t get their ballots in on time and NY had the eighth worst voter turnout in the country.

Check your states requirements here! If you aren’t registered, you may still be able to do so at the polls!

3. Folks showing up armed to polling places. Voter intimidation is running rampant and our President is being accused of encouraging, supporting and even in some instances paying for it. In Florida two people dressed as armed security guards were reported outside of an early voting site on October 21. The man and woman claimed they were hired by President Trump’s campaign. Though Trump’s campaign denies those allegations we also heard straight from the horses mouth:

On October 27th in Michigan a judge struck down Secretary of State Jocelyn Bensons directive banning open carry at polling places. Nevermind most polling places are schools, libraries, and places you already should not be carrying your weapon openly. This reeks of saying “ we want folks to be able to intimidate voters.”

4. Voters rejected based on attire. Folks confusing the humanitarian movement “Black Lives Matter” have been trying to use the “electioneering, political campaigning, and wearing political apparel is prohibited across the country” law as a means to suppress the vote. A poll worker in Memphis was fired when he attempted to refuse voters wearing “Black Lives Matter” apparel the right to vote. “Black Lives Matter” is not about politics it is about human life.

5. Robocalls urging voters to avoid using absentee ballots. In early October two conservative operatives were charged with making false robocalls in an attempt to discourage Black voters in Detroit, Pennsylvania, Illinois, New York and Ohio from voting by mail-in ballot. The calls told voters that they could be subject to debt collection and forced vaccination should they utilize the voting method.

Today is important. We’re facing one of the toughest times America has ever faced. It is our job to show up to the polls and vote for the air we breathe, the water we consume. It is our job to show up and vote for an end to white supremacy and justice which isn’t equally served. It is our job to show up for the ability for everyone to love freely and equally. It is our job to show up and vote for reproductive rights, equal access to education, housing, and healthcare. It is our job to show up for change. Show up today for an America that you believe in, because I don’t care who you are, I cannot fathom that the loss of 231K lives and counting is something you can believe in. If you haven’t voted yet I urge you to use your POWER for those who can’t and would. Go Vote!

Helpful information for voting today

Find your polling place.

Are you registered to vote? Can You Register Today?

I help white folks navigate white fragility and antiracsim. I run a Facebook Group where we talk about race: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2105707219575112

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