Teri Kanefield @Teri_Kanefield Author, lawyer (U.C. Berkeley). My threads are here: terikanefield-blog.com/ My author website is here: www.terikanefield.com/ Nov. 09, 2018 2 min read

(Thread) Protect and Promote the Vote

Here’s what I learned in 2016 and 2018 as a volunteer lawyer monitoring voting.

In CA, in the late 1980s through mid 1990s (when California was transitioning from a red state to a blue state) CA experienced a lot of voter suppression.

1/ Surprise! Suppression and incidents happened in minority communities in Republican-controlled areas.

A few dedicated lawyers formed an organization, became (or already were) experts in California election law, and started monitoring polling places & vote tabulation.

2/ They established a hotline. They train the volunteers. They work like crazy.

Did you hear about any voter suppression in California? Nope. The problems this year were individualized. Nothing systemic.

3/ Other states have their own Protect the Vote organizations, some modeled on California. While they are (somehow) connected to the Democratic Party, the idea is to help everyone vote. Anyone who has problems gets help. Everyone everywhere is encouraged to vote and offered help.

4/ John asked this:



Start now. You don’t have to be a lawyer. Find out what your state or community has in the way of a Protect the Vote organization and get involved. See what can be done to prepare for 2020. There is work for everyone.

5/ Voting and vote tabulation happens locally. The work is done by community members. This is good. It means it’s hard for outsiders (like the Kremlin, for example) to interfere.

The 2018 election shows that the GOP communities and demographics are shrinking.

6/ In the showdown between liberal democracy and autocracy, there are always more people in favor of liberal democracy. Let’s spend the next two years making sure they all vote.

7/ When Abraham Lincoln was a young man, it was common for men (white men, let’s be honest) to gather and talk politics. They gathered to talk and argue in stores & public spaces: It was he 19th century public sphere.

Read fabulous this passage from Goodwin’s TEAM OF RIVALS:

8/ This article discusses how the Tea Party succeeded: Their tactics were simple. They took control because they understood how to wield local political power. They organized locally, focusing on their own representatives.
 https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/02/opinion/to-stop-trump-democrats-can-learn-from-the-tea-party.html 
They stuck together.

9/ They organized for the 2010 primaries.

The Tea Party succeeded not because they adopted undemocratic positions (which they did) but because they organized locally and stayed on message.

While not ALL politics is local, most of it is.

10/ BTW, the issue isn't whether there will be elections in two years. There will be. Most autocracies have elections. They just don't matter. They're ritualized. Everyone knows the outcome. People show support for the Leader.

The question is whether the election will matter.

11/ The 2020 election will matter if each community makes sure their own local election matters.

It's ours. Let's take it back.

Maybe this thread should have been called: Make Politics Cool Again.


You can follow @Teri_Kanefield.



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