Today I want to talk about something serious. There is an election coming up in November for US President. The act of voting itself is so important to me, that every election I encourage everyone to vote for the candidate of their choice, even if it’s not my choice. I’m a Democratic so you know who I will vote for; but this post is not a campaign ad for Biden. This is about the act of voting and the disease of racism infecting that system.
I learned about Jim Crow and the Civil Rights movement in school. For years leading up to and during the Civil Rights Act are full of stories of people of color not being allowed to register to vote and being turned away at polls. I thought that was “history.” It is not. Voting is getting harder to do, not easier.
Voter suppression is still an active and effective tool of the Republican party, and it is growing stronger. In 2010, states across the country had already introduced legislation that would put unnecessary barriers in front of the ballot box, particularly for voters of color. Some states with early voting reduced the number of days of advance access to the polls. Others required forms of identification to vote that lawmakers knew many Americans did not have. States like Tennessee also burdened community groups that help register voters with unnecessary regulations and restrictions.
The Republican party knows that this year the pandemic may do the work for them. That is why they are dragging their feet on approving VOTE BY MAIL. We need secure technology, fair and accessible voting locations, machines and poll workers.
How can you join the effort to protect the vote? Let your Governor and Secretary of State know how you feel. Sign an online petition if you can find one. Get registered. Encourage everyone you know to check their registration status and make sure it’s active. Request an absentee ballot if you are eligible.
You can also get creative! The Declaration for American Democracy organization (https://declarationforamericandemocracy.org/openmic/) is holding a Protect the Vote Open Mic.
They are asking people to use their creativity to Pump Up the Volume! Here are some options that you can do: Record a video. Take a selfie with a sign. Write a poem. Perform a song. Draw or paint a picture. Make a playlist. Design a graphic. Write a letter. Write a blog post
Then share your creativity on Social Media using the hashtag #DemocracyOpenMic.
Vote like it’s the last time you’re going to vote because if things keep going the way they are, it just might be.