Getting Started: A Voting Advocacy Roadmap
HERE'S WHAT WE THINK MAKES SENSE.
1. PUT VOTING FIRST.
Our democracy's critical infrastructure is under unprecedented threat and no, someone is not defending it for you.
- Reforming the Electoral College would require 3/4 of States to agree. The GOP holds 33, the Democrats 17.
- Dark money reform needs a durable, veto-proof Congressional majority to pass it.
- Gerrymandering reform requires lawsuits by key big organizations. You can donate to the ACLU, Common Cause, and Eric Holder's National Democratic Redistricting Committee.
- Turnout. A statistic: Oregon, simply by implementing AVR and mail-in voting, raised its turnout to 86%. We tend to blame low turnout on voter apathy, which leads one to focus on candidates. While that's a factor, we think a far more important issue is access to the polls, both in lack of pro-voting policies, and in active voter suppression. That's why we focus on removing barriers to voting.
WE WORK ON STRUCTURAL VOTING REFORM BECAUSE IT'S LARGE-SCALE, AND PERMANENT. AND AVERAGE ACTIVISTS CAN REALLY HAVE AN IMPACT.
3. LEARN ABOUT YOUR ISSUES
Our Resources Page has great info for those who want to learn about the voting issues we cover, in depth. But don't get lost in deep dives. There's a lot of very effective work you can do, right now, without knowing any more than you know.
4. FIND MENTORS and ALLIES
You can't do this alone! Work through your state's Common Cause affiliate, or join your state's League of Women Voters, or approach your Indivisible group. Here's a proposal you can give your Resistance group on why they need to defend fair elections, and how to prioritize the work. READ PROPOSAL
5. SHAKE UP THE PUBLIC.
Use our list of voting documentaries to hold public events. Or, invite speakers.
WHY VOTING HAS TO COME FIRST
Secure and fair elections are important to us all. But like any infrastructure, our democracy's infrastructure, voting and elections, don't maintain themselves. Voter suppression is one of the largest, most orchestrated projects in America right now. Unless ALL Americans take on a piece of our voting troubles, our elections won't be secure and fair.
PRIORITIZING WITHIN THE VOTING LANDSCAPE
Permanent Structural Change over temporary, voter-by-voter efforts.
Path to Victory work that actually has a chance of getting done.
Common Denominators on which most Americans agree.
Biggest bang for the Buck work that impacts the most voters.
There are MANY other issues that mess up fair voting: gerrymandering, the Electoral College, Dark Money, Census Policy, on and on. So we decided to focus on the basics, things that are already almost universally agreed upon by average American voters, i.e.: Voting 101: registration, access, and verification. What that means:
- Every eligible American citizen should be able to register to vote without unnecessary barriers.
- Every registered voter should have access to the polls.
- Every vote validly cast should be counted
- Votes should be counted in a way that enables effective recounting where necessary.
- And finally, more controversially: that every American citizen, regardless of station, has a fundamental right to cast a vote.
LEARNING ABOUT VOTING
Documentary movies give a basic picture of why our voting systems are so troubled, and are a great place to start learning. They're also good when you're ready to start educating your community.
- Electoral Dysfunction: There are two versions: a 36 minute educational version and a longer 1.5 hr version. We rented a community room, but there is also a local small theatre, on Sunday morning. If you offer coffee and donuts and it's free, a lot of people will come. It's got a jocular tone that's appropriate for people who don't know anything about voting.
- Capturing the Flag is about modern voter suppression and the power of citizen action.ollows a group of voter protection lawyers who travel to North Carolina in 2016 to work the polls in the first Presidential Election since the gutting of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
- The Best Democracy Money Can Buy Investigative journalist Greg Palast has been reporting on Interstate CrossCheck for over a decade. Hardly anybody listened, partly because we're having trouble wrapping our minds around how far we've drifted from free & fair elections, partly because Palast has got this weird Sam Spade impersonation routine going on. Still: he understands CrossCheck better than anyone. CrossCheck was invented by Kris Kobach, who now heads Trump's "Voter Integrity" commission.
- 13th looks at the criminalization of the African-American population, based in old slave laws, and touches on one of our big issues: felony disenfranchisement.
- IVoted? looks at how votes get counted — or not.
Take a look at our Resources Page to deep dive articles and research papers on the issues we support.