Early Voting_Civilrightstoday.org_Blogpost_09_02_2020

So let’s recap: By now, you are registered to vote and registered all of your friends, family, coworkers, and frenemies. You completed the Census and encouraged everyone else to do so. Now, you are ready to plan your voting experience. Let’s discuss the early voting process.

For people who prefer to vote in person, early voting (EV) is a viable option. Most states have the EV option, which ranges from 4 to 45 days depending on where you live. As I noted in a previous post, EV starts 9/18 in Minnesota and South Dakota.  In Virginia, New Jersey, Michigan, and Wisconsin EV will begin on Saturday, September 19, 2020. 

There are a few reasons to consider EV. With the large scale distrust of the postal service, (we’ll talk about vote by mail next week), casting a ballot on a machine is appealing to a large percentage of Americans. Moreover, the EV option should cut wait time on 11/3. Nonetheless, prepare yourself to have to wait to cast your EV ballot. Bring reading materials, a chair, water, an umbrella, etc. Election officials are anticipating high voter turnout. We saw extremely long lines on election day during the primary season. We can expect more lines regardless of how you cast your in-person ballot. You can find EV locations and hours here.

Finally, if you choose to vote in-person adhere to public safety protocols. Wear a mask and social distance from others. Be Safe and VOTE!

Complete the Census_Civilrightstoday.org Blogpost_08262020

While Census Day was April 1st, it marked the beginning not the end of the count. The Trump administration has moved up the deadline for the Census count to September 30th. Congress can act to change the date to give more time for an accurate count. After all, we are in the midst of a pandemic.

The Census is vitally important to communities of color. The Census count determines the number of representatives that each state will have in Congress. Additionally, communities of color are usually under counted. When this happens, those communities don’t have enough schools, hospital beds or other important services.

You can complete the Census for your household here: https://2020census.gov/en.html You can learn more about the deadlines and efforts to persuade Congress to act here. contact Congress and tell them to extend the deadline here. You can read an article on how important the Census is to our communities here.

Civil Rights Today Blog_Vote By Mail_08_19_2020

Let’s talk about vote by mail (vbm) or absentee ballots this week. First, the two terms are interchangeable; no distinctions exist. When you request an absentee ballot, you will receive a ballot that allows you to vote in the comfort of your home. It’s a useful tool, but in areas that are unaccustomed to vbm, it shouldn’t be the sole source of participation. We need massive education on vbm to assuage fears. Here’s what you need to know to make a clear decision:

Currently, 5 states conduct all elections via mail, with high participation rates and no problems with fraud.

Around 30 states allow voters to request ballots for any reason, which is generally referred to as “no excuse” vbm.

It’s the remaining 15 that have requirements, such as only people of a certain age or witness requirements, that make it especially onerous to vote.

Generally, voters of color use vbm at a lesser rate than white voters. We like to vote in-person. We want to see our votes cast and counted. We also tend to have a higher rejection rate of our vbm ballots. Thus, the reluctance to use it. If people of color don’t use vbm, why all the fuss? Well, it increases turnout. Some politicians don’t want more people to participate, which is why we MUST vote. Make sure that you’re registered and learn your voting options.

If you are interested in more information on vbm, here’s a messaging guide from @adv_project and a report @demos that have good information.

A white person and a Black person vote by mail in the same state. Whose ballot is more likely to be rejected?

There is a LOT of noise surrounding vote by mail(vbm)/remote voting.  It’s important to note that racial disparities exist in the rejection rate of vbm ballots cast by people of color.  Also, the current shenanigans surrounding the USPS raise the level of distrust.  All of this argues for why areas that are trying to expand vbm, must have other ways to cast ballots, including utilizing dropboxes, expanding early voting, and in-person methods.  We need to increase opportunities to cast ballots, not limit them.


Civilrightstoday.org Blogpost 08_12_2020

This week, I want to talk about voter registration.  In most states, voter registration closes 25-30 days before an election.  This year that means, in some states, October 4, 2020 is the last day to register.  You can go to www.vote.org to check registration deadlines.  This year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic many voter registration outlets, like the Department of Motor Vehicles, was closed for several months. Additionally, other voter registration sites, such as libraries and social service agencies were closed.  In 2016, 33% of all registrations came from the DMV.  There are a few states (21) that allow you to register and vote on the same day, even through election day.  Here are a few websites where you can register to vote or check your registration:   https://www.whenweallvote.org/; https://www.spreadthevote.org/; https://www.vote.org/

If you’re not registered, you can’t vote.  Know before you go!!