VOTING ADVOCACY: A ROADMAP FOR ACTIVISTS
To do effective voting work in your community, you'll need to do three things: first, learn about the problems and solutions, second, shake up your community with the facts; third, gather allies to share the work and mentors to guide you in it.
Learning about the Problems. Two movies give a good picture of why our registration system is so problematic, and both are great for general audience community showings. We have a fact sheet of key information to deliver to your audience, after the screening.
- 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. Get it on CD, or stream it on Amazon Prime & iTunes. Electoral Dysfunction website.
- 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.
WHAT ABOUT GERRYMANDERING, AND THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE, AND DARK MONEY?
All are important, and at Lift+Every+Vote we try to support those working on them. But Lift+Every+Vote focuses on Voting 1.0 — registration, access, and verification. We've prioritized things that are almost universally agreed upon by American voters, at least in principle: that every eligible American should be able to register and vote, that only eligible voters should be registered, that every ballot cast should be accurately counted. And, if necessary, recounted.
Voting's our democracy's critical infrastructure: and as with most infrastructure, we tend to neglect it. there always seems to be something more urgent to spend time on. But our voting systems don't maintain themselves.
Voting is a harder nut to crack, for many reasons. It doesn't have the same emotional tug as a candidate or a cause: there's no hero to champion, no victim to protect. Second, even seasoned activists often don't know how to work on something with so many moving parts: 6 Constitutional Amendments, 3 Voting Rights Acts, 2 federal agencies, 50 State laws, 35 elected Secretaries of States, 12 elected by State legislatures, 3 who're appointed, 13,000 precincts, 4 voting machine companies, 34 different kinds of voting machines...and a partridge in a pear tree. Where does an average activist start?