Election Protection and Countering Voter Suppression
Voter suppression is a strategy to reduce the number of people eligible to vote and make it more difficult for voters, disproportionately Black voters and voters of color, to cast their ballot. Voter suppression can take many forms, including: voter purges, voter ID requirements, shutting down polling places and voter intimidation.
The NAACP’s Reclaim Our Vote campaign has now targeted districts in Texas where there have been egregious voter suppression efforts. You can sign up to write postcards (bilingual) to the affected voters to help prevent them from being purged from the voter rolls. The Texas due date is August 31! Contact email@example.com. (A new postcard campaign for North Carolina will begin in late August.)
Our national UU The Vote team has partnered with Wisconsin Conservation Voices to try to prevent the purging of 129,000 voters there. Volunteer to phone bank beginning September 2, and continuing bi-weekly, to reach out to the at-risk voters. Contact Melanie at firstname.lastname@example.org or the UU organizer in Wisconsin, Nora at NRasman@uua.org.
UUCC The Vote
At UUCC, we are partnering with existing social justice and voter organizations like UUSJ, the Reeb Project, NAACP and Vote Forward. They have already researched and organized effective tactics and campaigns for targeted geographies.
The UUCC The Vote team is offering an assortment of ways to engage – starting with phone banks and post card writing, and eventually “feet on the street” projects. We are offering multiple geographies that may be of most interest to our members: local Maryland and Howard County, nearby Pennsylvania and Virginia, and even strategic states like North Carolina and Wisconsin.
Organizing meetings were held throughout May. Small voter registration “beta test” programs ran through early June. The UUCC The Vote Sunday service was on June 14.
At the official “launch” of UUCC The Vote on June 16, 2020, we described the first set of 7 projects. You can decide which ones you want to participate in. Please join us!
If you have ideas, questions or want to get on the UUCC The Vote mailing list, please email us.
Voter Suppression Tactics (source: UUA UU The Vote)
• Voter Purges: Over 17 million voters have been purged from the voter roles between 2016 and 2018 and thousands more face the prospect of being disenfranchised this year.
• Voter ID requirements: States with voter ID laws, especially the 10 with extremely restrictive laws block millions of Americans, especially transgender voters, residents of reservations and those who rely on tribal ID that may not be accepted, from exercising their vote.
• Shutting Down and Under-resourcing Polling Places: Before 2013, the Voting Rights Act required federal preapproval for states’ changes to polling locations. But now, states have closed polling stations, limited early voting, or reduced polling hours. In Georgia in 2018, wide reports of unplugged machines and unmanned voting stations contributed to the allegations of a stolen election.
• Voter Intimidation: In recent elections, we‘ve witnessed individuals carrying guns outside voting locations as a tactic to intimidate and deter people from voting
What can you do? (Source: UUA UU The Vote)
Ahead of Election Day
• Volunteer with groups who are notifying and re-registering individuals targeted by your state’s voter purge
• Attend County Board of Elections meetings to advocate for sufficient and well-resourced voting locations and adequate notification plans for voters
• Support groups litigating for fairer elections and to stop the purges
• Study issues that occurred in 2016 and 2018 and brainstorm how to address them in 2020
On Election Day or During a Recount
• Volunteer to be a poll worker or poll monitor to be vigilant for corruption or negligence
• Write down 1-866-our-vote and be prepared to report any issues
• Volunteer with groups to make voting locations in targeted communities festive, fun, and fed in anticipation of longer lines, misinformation, and potential harassment
• Offer your church as a voting location or a staging site for voting rights groups