Next week is Election Day, and the stakes could not be higher. Every issue we work on and that is close to our heart is on the ballot. We can begin rebuilding and transforming this country together, but the first step is making sure every vote is counted.
Over the past two centuries, Americans have been murdered, imprisoned and tortured over the fight for the right and the ability to vote. For most of that time, the struggle has been over the basic idea of who was allowed to vote, both legally and in practice. But over the last twenty years, a new front has appeared: how the votes that are already cast get counted. As we face one of the most pivotal elections in our country’s history, we must ensure that every vote cast — whether by mail, at an early voting site, or on November 3 itself — is counted. In order to do this, we must be ready.
In the election of 2000, too many of us trusted the system and assumed our votes would be counted carefully and accurately. Now we know better.
In this election, we have seen efforts across the country to suppress the vote — by destroying the US Postal system; removing ballot boxes; reducing polling places; and throwing citizens off the voter rolls. But once November 3 comes, we must prepare our response to any campaign to nullify votes. This is the next, logical step in a campaign set on voter suppression.
How can we prepare to protect and defend the valid results of the election? We may not know the results on the night of November 3. That is not necessarily a concern — some mail-in ballots are only opened on the day of the election, and it will take time to accurately read and tabulate an unprecedented number of paper ballots. Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and North Carolina in particular will probably take more time than other states to count their votes. However, it is during that period of uncertainty that we must stay vigilant and ready. We should have a good idea of where there might be issues by the morning of November 4. The first order of business is making sure that poll workers and vote counters are not intimidated. Next, we must forcefully stand up for our votes wherever action is needed. In preparation you can:
- Sign up with Protecttheresults.com and they will keep you updated about local actions near you.
- Join The Frontline – a new project from the Movement for Black Lives Electoral Justice Project and the Working Families Party. Text “FRONTLINE” to 30403, or join their Slack.
- Read the guide at Holdtheline.com for possible scenarios we may be facing and actions you can take.
In the case of a contested election we must be ready to do whatever it takes to protect every vote and ensure the results are respected.
People across the country have braved a pandemic in order to cast their votes. They have organized, called, written postcards and raised money in record numbers for the candidates of their choice. The end is so close, but we must not be complacent. The stakes are too high and the cost of defeat is too great. We must ensure that each vote counts, so that we can finally get control of this pandemic; begin the work of reshaping our country to reflect our deep-seated desire for equity and justice; and build a new social contract for a better future. The first step takes place on November 3rd. After that, it is up to us.