How We Win Digest: Healthy Voting In The Age of Trump
The following is a companion to Swing Left’s How We Win podcast, Episode #62. Listen to the episode here and don’t forget to subscribe!
Last week North Carolina was the first state to mail out absentee ballots, two months ahead of Election Day. Next week, Minnesota will be the first to launch in-person voting. With dozens of other states following suit in the next days and weeks, “the voting window has very much expanded,” Jessica Barba Brown, senior advisor to We Can Vote, told How We Win host Steve Pierson.“The window of time is no longer election day, it’s election season.”
Despite the fears, concerns, suspicions — Covid-19, voter suppression, the kneecapping by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy of the service he’s supposed to ensure delivers mail-in ballots on time, not to mention the existential threat the President of the United States poses to the sanctity of the electoral process — voters seem to be embracing the new era. “About six in 10 registered voters nationwide say they want to cast their ballots before Election Day,” according to a Washington Post-University of Maryland poll, “a significant departure from previous years that will force the candidates to reshape how they campaign in the election season’s final weeks.”
However, the poll also finds, one-third of “registered voters are unsure who is allowed to vote by mail in their state, whether election offices will automatically deliver ballots or ballot applications, and when ballots must be submitted.”
Which is where organizations like We Can Vote come in. In addition to information on its own site, its Healthyvoting.org spinoff provides updated state-by-state information on registration, deadlines and other voting matters, plus “common sense precautions” for voters using the mail, drop boxes or voting at polling places. They include wearing a mask, social distancing, especially at polling stations, and (of course) “before and after voting, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.”
“We cannot let fear stop us from voting this year,” said Brown.“We really want to empower folks to go out there and do it in the safest way possible.” Beginning now, and all the way to November 3rd. The same goes for Swing Left.
Knowing the closer we get the more crucial the outreach. Swing Left, along with other progressive organizations, is calling now for volunteers to sign up with its The Last Weekends initiative, a mass mobilization drive focusing on the last three weekends before Election Day. A similar initiative leading up to the 2018 midterms, recruited 140,000 volunteers, contacted two million voters, and we know the result.
This time Swing Left is looking to raise the bar even higher, and make the outcome even better, despite the obstacles current events (and Republicans) have hurled in democracy’s way.
“I’m now feeling a little better about this,” said Pierson at the close of the podcast. “There’s been a lot of agita about this, but there really are a lot of options for people to vote safely. And so let’s make sure every voter knows they exist.”
-Andrew S. Ross